About Us

Our Mission

NCLR is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, legislation, policy, and public education.

From NCLR’s Archives

Devoted to the lesbian-feminist foundation to provide a broad perspective of advocacy and legal support for fundamental rights, Hitchens and Achtenberg focused their initial courtroom battles on lesbian family issues, which at that time saw lesbian mothers having to prove they were fit parents to retain child custody rights. The first court victory for NCLR was in 1983 when Sharon Johnson, a black lesbian mother, won custody of her son Daimein.

— “NCLR still has an edge at 30” by Heather Cassell, The Bay Area Reporter, Apr 4, 2007

Our History

In 1977, a brave and determined woman, fresh out of law school and eager to make a difference, decided to put her knowledge to good use. As a legal scholar, Donna Hitchens saw the courtroom as a way to change the world. As a lesbian, she had experienced frustrations and fears—both personal and professional—and didn’t want others to suffer the same. As a future parent, she knew she would face even more challenges ahead.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights was born.

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