Impact Litigation and Advocacy

Our goal is to serve as a vehicle through which the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people are recognized and lifted up before judges—through the diverse lives we lead, resilience in the face of obstacles that our civil rights laws are intended to dismantle, and the effects those obstacles have on our ability to live fully and freely, particularly those of us whose identities are at the intersection of multiple oppressive systems.

  • In practice, we are a small team leveraging our deep organizational knowledge and partnerships to strategically engage in the issues, projects, and cases we pursue domestically and internationally, with the goal of bringing about positive systemic changes.

  • We are here to listen, cultivate, and collaborate.

  • Intake Form - Given the size of our team, we generally respond with referrals to resources and attorneys. When appropriate, we may offer legal advice and counsel. We are particularly interested in learning about discrimination in schools as well as discrimination in attempting to obtain health care, housing, or shelter because of an individual's LGBTQ+ identity.

  • Due to capacity limitations, we will not be responding to intakes until March 1, 2024.

  • See below for FAQs

See here for Questions and Answers About the Legal Status of Florida’s Transgender Healthcare Ban

Carpenter et al. v. James et al.: The Human Rights Campaign Foundation co-counsels with Steptoe & Johnson LLP on an amicus brief before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on behalf of a group of diverse businesses in this case that involves a wedding photographer in New York who seeks permission to deny services to couples of same-sex weddings and advertise the same.

D.H. et al. v. Williamson County Board of Education et al.: Joined by the law firms of Linklaters and Branstetter, Stranch, & Jennings PLLC, this suit was filed in the District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee challenging a discriminatory law that denies transgender students, faculty, and staff access to the bathroom, locker rooms and other sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity. This is the second lawsuit the HRC Foundation has filed challenging Tennessee's discriminatory law. For more information on the first lawsuit, A.S. et al. v. Lee et al. see the Complaint and Press Release.

D.N. v. Ron DeSantis et. al: This federal civil rights lawsuit challenging a Florida law banning transgender girls from participating in sports was filed in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida along with Arnold & Porter.

Doe v. Ladapo: Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Tallahassee Division) with the GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Southern Legal Counsel, and Sidley Austin LLP, plaintiffs challenge the Florida Medical Boards' rules prohibiting physicians from initiating life-saving transition-related care for youth.

An amended complaint was filed on July 21, 2023 expanding the case to address state law SB 254’s harmful restrictions on access to care for adults and seeking class-wide relief for all transgender minors and adults who require medical care restricted by SB 254.

Eknes-Tucker v. Ivey: Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (Northern Division) with the GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Southern Poverty Law Center, King & Spalding, and Lightfoot, Franklin, and White LLC, plaintiffs sought and obtained an injunction to halt a law that criminalizes the provision of life-saving gender-affirming care for youth.

Emma Koe et al. v. Kathleen Toomey et al.: The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and ACLU Georgia, along with law firms O'Melveny & Myers and Caplan Cobb, filed suit in the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta challenging the state's law banning hormone therapy for adolescents.

In re Executive Message (Governor v. Prosecuting Attorneys): The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, supported by Sterling Attorneys at Law, files an amici curiae brief before the Michigan Supreme Court on behalf of Equality Michigan and 8 Michigan-based LGBTQ+ organizations supporting the Governor's request for the Supreme Court to certify the question of whether Michigan's felony abortion statute, enacted in 1931, violates the State Constitution.

Sines v. Kessler: In support of plaintiffs, HRC filed an amici curiae brief with Baker Hostetler in the Fourth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. Sines v. Kessler stems from a tragic and violent series of events in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, which was organized by a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, resulting in death and extensive damage. A jury determined that the organizers had violated Virginia's hate-crime statute and other laws, and awarded plaintiffs $26 million in damages, including punitive damages. However, the district court reduced the award by over $23 million on the theory that a provision of Virginia law imposed a cap on punitive damages. This brief offers a historical explanation of why punitive damages are vital for civil rights groups and have proven to be crucial for remedying and deterring hate crimes and violence against marginalized populations. We argue that the appellate court should reverse the lower court's restrictive interpretation of Virginia's statutory punitive damages cap. In filing this brief, HRC continues to our work against extremism, hate, and violence towards our intersectional community.

Tarrant County Community College v. Sims: Represented by Winston & Strawn, the Human Rights Campaign filed a brief as amicus curaie, or “friend of the court,” to the Texas 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in this case that addresses the scope of protections against discrimination for LGBTQ+ workers under Texas state law.

Walker v. Azar: Joined by Baker Hostetler LLP, this federal civil rights lawsuit challenges the Trump Administration’s attempt to roll back protections against discrimination for LGBTQ+ people in the Affordable Care Act. In August 2020, a federal district court judge issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the harmful rule from taking effect during the height of a global pandemic. Learn more about our plaintiffs Tanya Walker and Cecilia Gentili.