National Center for Lesbian Rights

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Cases & Advocacy

Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Fallon Fox

Fallon Fox made history in 2013 when she came out as the first openly transgender mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. NCLR’s Sports Project helped her navigate that process, and also assisted Fallon with athletic licensing issues in Florida and California.

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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

Sulpizio v. San Diego Mesa College

Lorri Sulpizio was the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at San Diego Mesa College, and her domestic partner, Cathy Bass, assisted the team and served as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations for over eight years. Despite Sulpizio’s and Bass’s dedication and demonstrated track record of success, they were discharged after Coach Sulpizio repeatedly advocated for equal treatment of female student-athletes and faculty, and an article was published identifying Sulpizio and Bass as domestic partners.

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Cases & Advocacy

Harris v. Portland

NCLR and co-counsel reached a settlement agreement on behalf of Jennifer Harris with Penn State and its women’s basketball coach Rene Portland and athletic director Tim Curley. This groundbreaking lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Harris alleged discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation and invasion of privacy.

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Cases & Advocacy

Stephens v. Bloomsburg School District

NCLR and attorney Michael Shirk from the National Education Association/Texas State Teacher’s Association negotiated a settlement on behalf of Merry Stephens, an award-winning teacher and basketball coach in rural Texas.┬áIn 2004, the School Board initiated proceedings to terminate Coach Stephens, based on the personal anti-gay animosity of several school board members. In exchange for Coach Stephens’ agreement not to pursue further legal action, the district agreed to pay Coach Stephens a monetary settlement.

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Cases & Advocacy

Lessik v. East Bay Iceland, Inc.

John Manzon-Santos and Alan Lessik, award-winning amateur figure skaters and were training for the 2006 Gay Games, filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court seeking redress for sexual orientation discrimination. Manzon-Santos and Lessik alleged that, while training for the pairs competition at Berkeley, California’s Iceland, they were harassed, discriminated against, and kicked out of their home rink for skating together.

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