National Center for Lesbian Rights

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Cases & Advocacy

Prescott v. Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego

On September 26, 2016, the mother of a transgender teenaged boy who was admitted into Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego (RCHSD) for inpatient care filed a lawsuit against the hospital for discrimination against her son, Kyler. One day into his 72-hour stay, and after several failed attempts by his mother to correct the discrimination by the hospital, the hospital’s psychiatrist determined that despite his serious mental health issues, Kyler should be discharged early. About five weeks later, Kyler died by suicide.

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Legislation & Policy

State Policy Working Group

NCLR, along with other national LGBTQ organizations, is part of a State Policy Working Group that addresses proposed state legislation affecting LGBTQ people across the country. The group works to support local advocates in advancing bills to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, healthcare, and other areas, and to allow transgender and nonbinary people to obtain gender marker changes on identity documents.

The group also works to stop the dozens of hostile anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures every year. Among the proposed laws that have been successfully defeated are bills that would permit discrimination against same-sex couples who marry, create broad religious exemptions to existing civil rights protections, allow religiously-affiliated child welfare agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples, prohibit transgender people from using restrooms and other facilities based on their gender identity, and deprive transgender youth of access to gender-affirming medical care and participation in school sports based on their gender identity.

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Legislation & Policy

Housing Equality

The National Center for Lesbian Rights has always been committed to the principle that sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status should never impact access to housing for people and their families. NCLR’s policy and legislative efforts on equal access to housing have focused on ensuring that all LGBTQ people and families have access to safe, affordable, and fair housing in whatever community they choose to live. Our work has included partnering with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the White House, and other agencies charged with administering housing programs and services to prohibit discrimination in housing.

NCLR has likewise been dedicated to decreasing instances of homelessness and housing insecurity in the LGBTQ community, particularly among LGBTQ youth. Studies estimate that up to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. NCLR is committed to finding legislative and policy solutions that target this epidemic. This has included working closely with HUD, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and other agencies to raise awareness of the prevalence of homelessness in the LGBTQ community and advocate for regulatory changes to address it.

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Cases & Advocacy

Kevin Seaman and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — Agreement with Lyft

Kevin Seaman, an interdisciplinary artist, cultural worker, and drag queen whose drag persona is LOL McFiercen, and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns devoted to community service and promoting human rights, have reached a collaborative agreement with Lyft to ensure individuals in the queer and drag communities are not discriminated against by drivers using Lyft’s platform.

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Cases & Advocacy

Walsh v. Friendship Village of South County

On July 25, 2018, Mary Walsh, age 72, and Bev Nance, age 68, a married lesbian couple, filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of Missouri against St. Louis senior housing community Friendship Village Sunset Hills. The complaint alleges that Friendship Village violated the federal Fair Housing Act by discriminating against Walsh and Nance on the basis of sex, denying them a unit because they are a same-sex married couple.

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Cases & Advocacy

Whitaker v. Kirby

NCLR and Joshua Langdon represented three transgender youth and their families in a lawsuit against Warren County Judge Joseph Kirby. The complaint alleged that Judge Kirby violated the United States Constitution by denying name changes to transgender youth based on his biases about transgender people. The Ohio Court of Appeals reversed Judge Kirby’s denial and ordered that he grant the name change.

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Cases & Advocacy

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia Amicus

Catholic Social Services (CSS), a foster care agency, brought the lawsuit claiming a constitutional right to discriminate against same-sex potential foster parents in violation of the agency’s contract with the City of Philadelphia and the City’s anti-discrimination ordinance. The district court denied CSS’s motion for a preliminary injunction, and CSS appealed.

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Cases & Advocacy

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Amicus

In 2012, Colorado residents David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips informed them that because of his religious beliefs, the store would not serve customers who wanted to order cakes to celebrate a same-sex couple’s wedding. On June 4, 2018, the Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion in this case.

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Legislation & Policy

Federal LGBTQ Equal Access Rule

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is committed to increasing access to fair housing for the LGBTQ community across the country.

NCLR has worked extremely closely with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help shape fair housing policies that impact our community. In 2010, HUD announced that it would begin interpreting the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex to include discrimination based on gender identity and nonconformity with sex stereotypes. This announcement represented a huge victory and creates significant protections for transgender, gender nonconforming, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. In order to publicize this announcement, NLCR partnered with HUD to create a training for HUD staff on discrimination that LGBTQ people face and how best to work with the LGBTQ community.

NCLR has also been a lead partner with HUD in developing its LGBTQ Equal Access Rule, which extends crucial protections against housing discrimination to the LGBTQ community. NCLR wrote comments on behalf of over 30 LGBT, civil rights, and fair housing organizations in response to a draft version of this rule, and worked closely with HUD behind the scenes in the crafting of the final rule.

The final rule is historic. It prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public housing, HUD-backed mortgages, and HUD-funded programs and services. Many of the changes NCLR suggested from the proposed rule stage were implemented into the final rule. The final rule was released in January 2012 and went into effect March 5, 2012. In 2016, HUD issued an amendment to the Rule to clarify that transgender persons seeking shelter at HUD-funded homeless shelters must be housed according to their gender identity. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is seeking to roll back these protections in homeless shelters. NCLR and many partner organizations and individuals have opposed these changes with HUD and we will continue to advocate for federal housing policy that is inclusive and protects everyone.

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Cases & Advocacy

Apilado. v. North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association

LaRon Charles, Jon Russ and Steven Apilado had been playing softball together in the San Francisco Gay Softball League for years. Their team had competed in the Gay Softball World Series organized by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA), but had never finished better than fourth place. At the 2008 World Series in Seattle, the team made it all the way to the championship game, when they were shocked to learn that their eligibility to play was being challenged based on a NAGAAA rule limiting the number of non-gay players who could play on a World Series team.

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Cases & Advocacy

Dykes on Bikes

NCLR and the Brooke Oliver Law Group represented the San Francisco Women’s Motorcycle Contingent in an action to register the name “Dykes on Bikes” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO initially rejected the application on the ground that the term “Dykes on Bikes” is disparaging to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

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Cases & Advocacy

Koebke v. Bernardo Heights Country Club Amicus

Birgit Koebke and Kendall French, a lesbian couple who have been domestic partners for 12 years, sued the Bernardo Heights Country Club for refusing to provide them with the same membership benefits given to different-sex couples and for allowing other members to harass and insult them because of their sexual orientation.

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Cases & Advocacy

Jensen v. St. Augustine

NCLR, on behalf of Equality Florida and St. Augustine Pride Committee, won the right to fly rainbow flags over the historical Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, Florida, for the 2005 Pride celebration. The City denied the Pride Committee’s application to fly the flags for three years in a row, even though the Pride Committee met all of the City’s requirements.

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Supreme Court Rules on Title VII! Give now & Celebrate!