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Affirming LGBTQ+ Rights

We advocate for New York’s LGBTQ+ populations, across all three practices, in courtrooms and communities, fighting discrimination, ensuring access to healthcare, housing, benefits and entitlements, and assisting people affected by HIV/AIDS.

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Every day, in courthouses and communities across the city, we advocate for the rights of all New Yorkers. Learn more about the services we provide.

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Making a Difference

Projects, Units & Initiatives

Our specialized teams have experience working on nearly every area of law that impacts New Yorkers. Explore the ways we fight on behalf of clients and communities.

A Day in the Life

Challenging Systemic Injustice Through the LGBTQ+ Law and Policy Unit

Erin Beth Harrist was two weeks into her tenure as the Supervising Attorney of our LGBTQ+ Law and Policy Unit when the COVID-19 pandemic rocked New York City. When the pandemic kicked in our work on behalf of LGB and TGNCNB people into overdrive, especially in state prisons. Trans folks, especially trans women of color, are particularly subject to the traumas of incarceration, and the pandemic added yet another potentially fatal layer to an already dire situation.

Erin Beth Harrist LGBTQ+ Law and Policy Unit
Our Work with Partners

Putting an End to LGBTQ+ Discrimination at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

In March of 2017, our Special Litigation Unit and LGBTQ+ Initiative partnered with Winston & Strawn LLP to file Holden v PAPD of NY and NJ which charges the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) with discrimination, targeting, and false arrests of men using restrooms within the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The suit highlights the unconstitutional practices of PAPD officers who engage in a pattern and practice of targeting men perceived as gay or gender non-conforming on baseless charges including public lewdness and exposure. Despite agreeing to co-counsel late in the Society’s investigation, the Winston team hit the ground running and provided critical assistance in researching and drafting the complaint which highlights the issues of abusive policing among LGBTQ+ communities.

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By the Numbers

Many of our LGBTQ+ clients who come from low-income communities and communities of color often live at the intersections of multiple oppressions. Our work helps them overcome the obstacles keeping them from thriving in New York City.

40%

Of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+.

21%

Of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers believe they have been discriminated against by a potential or current employer.

47%

Of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers have been denied equal treatment or services in public.

A contribution to The Legal Aid Society is about more than money.

Every donation helps us offer essential legal services to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers, helping people buy food, pay rent, and care for themselves and their families.

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