Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community

Latham’s advocacy and efforts to protect the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community span decades. One of our biggest successes in recent years was securing a victory in a federal lawsuit against the US government’s ban on transgender individuals in the military, on behalf of Equality California and several transgender military members. Alongside this high-impact litigation, our lawyers advocate on behalf of individual clients, including challenging employment discrimination, assisting nonprofits that work directly with vulnerable individuals, and helping to prepare antibullying and other educational materials. We also draft amicus briefs that support increasing access to justice and strengthening the rule of law.

Among our efforts for LGBTQ+ clients is Latham’s transgender name change initiative, through which we assist individuals across the US who wish to change their names to match their gender identity. We continue to counsel clients referred by several longtime pro bono partners, including the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit aiming to end discrimination and achieve equality for transgender people, and Whitman-Walker, a nonprofit community health center with expertise in serving LGBTQ+ individuals as well as those who have HIV/AIDS. To date, more than 750 Latham lawyers from around the firm have assisted low-income transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary individuals in changing their names.

Through our longstanding partnership with Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding victims of domestic violence and related forms of gender violence, we have conducted research on country conditions concerning the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals. We also advise Sanctuary clients seeking asylum as a result of persecution for their sexual orientation in their home countries and similarly situated clients of organizations like Justice Centre Hong Kong.

"Latham’s support of the LGBTQ+ legal community is based in large part on partnership, as we want to both recognize and progress the hard work so many great organizations are doing for LGBTQ+ individuals every day. By working with organizations such as the Williams Institute, we can expand our reach and provide greater safeguards to our LGBTQ+ community."

Tana Ryan, Partner, Los Angeles

Our firm collaborates closely with the Williams Institute, the leading research center on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy in the US. We have advised the Williams Institute on several matters and projects, including filing an influential amicus brief in Obergefell v. Hodges and researching discrimination against LGBTQ+ employees in various states. Most recently, a team from our Los Angeles and Century City offices is undertaking research on the existence and enforcement of HIV criminal laws in various states as part of the Williams Institute’s HIV criminalization research project.  

In addition to our other work with the Williams Institute, Latham partnered with UCLA School of Law as the sole sponsor of the 2023 Williams Institute Moot Court Competition, which is the first national moot court competition dedicated exclusively to issues focused on sexual orientation and gender identity law. As part of the firm’s engagement, we sponsored, coached, and mentored student teams from Harvard, NYU, Georgetown, Northwestern, and UCLA, and one of the sponsored teams won the Best Oral Advocate award. 

Essential to our continuing commitment to assisting nonprofits dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community has been advising organizations like Consortium, the Trevor Project, National AIDS Trust, and OutRight Action International for many years. Our lawyers have also provided pro bono support to the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA), the largest LGBTQ+ student organization in Hong Kong. QSA helps LGBTQ+ students and allies through career, social, and educational initiatives, including partnering with companies to connect LGBTQ+ professionals with young people as mentors.