Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Carolyn Reyes, Esq.

Youth Policy Counsel

Carolyn was born in Miami and raised there primarily by her monolingual Cuban grandmother with a fifth-grade education, who read the newspaper cover to cover and watched “The Price is Right” daily. She fell in love with San Francisco during the semester of college she spent in the City in an Urban Studies program, and moved to the East Bay upon graduation. She has now been in the Bay Area over half her life and doesn’t think she’ll live anywhere else (although she imagines ending up in Barcelona if ever exiled from the U.S.).

Carolyn joins NCLR as Youth Policy Counsel to work on the #BornPerfect campaign to end conversion therapy for children and youth, as well as other youth-related projects.  She is a national expert on issues related to LGBT youth in out-of-home care who has spent over two decades working on behalf of marginalized children, youth and families in various capacities, including child welfare worker, children’s attorney, children and family therapist, and school counselor.  Prior to joining NCLR, Carolyn served as Director of getREAL California, a collaboration between NCLR, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and Family Builders aimed at integrating sexual orientation and gender identity/expression-informed policy and practice into California’s child welfare system. Prior to that, Carolyn spent 9 years at Legal Services for Children, where in addition to representing children and youth in dependency, guardianship, immigration, and education matters, she coordinated two projects—both collaborations with NCLR—focused on improving services to and outcomes for LGBT youth in child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  She has co-authored numerous publications related to LGBT youth in out-of-home care, including Hidden Injustice:  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Juvenile Courts.

Carolyn received her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law, her M.S.W. from San Francisco State University, her M.A. in Theology (Religion & Society) from Pacific School of Religion, and her B.A. from Wheaton College (IL).

When not at work, she can be found reading with her daughter, Kairos, eating yummy meals prepared by her wife, Yvonne, or cheering on her son, Sanjay, at a high school sporting event.

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