Legal Aid Society

Advancing LGBTQ+ Rights

We advocate for New York’s LGBTQ+ communities, across the Civil, Criminal Defense, and Juvenile Rights Practices, in courtrooms and communities, fighting discrimination, ensuring access to healthcare, housing, benefits and entitlements, and assisting people affected by HIV/AIDS.

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Every day, in courthouses and communities across the city, we advocate for the rights of all New Yorkers. Learn more about the services we provide.

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Making a Difference

Projects, Units & Initiatives

Our specialized teams have experience working on nearly every area of law that impacts New Yorkers. Explore the ways we fight on behalf of clients and communities.

A Day in the Life

Challenging Systemic Injustice Through the LGBTQ+ Law and Policy Unit

Erin Beth Harrist was two weeks into her tenure as the Supervising Attorney of our LGBTQ+ Law and Policy Unit when the COVID-19 pandemic rocked New York City. When the pandemic kicked in our work on behalf of LGB and TGNCNB people into overdrive, especially in state prisons. Trans folks, especially trans women of color, are particularly subject to the traumas of incarceration, and the pandemic added yet another potentially fatal layer to an already dire situation.

Erin Beth Harrist  LGBTQ+ Law and Policy Unit 

Our Work with Partners

TGNCNBI People Are Facing a Crisis in New York City Jails

The Legal Aid Society is calling on lawmakers to pass the Gender Identity Respect, Dignity, and Safety (GIRDS) Act to ensure incarcerated TGNCNBI New Yorkers have access to fundamental rights and protections. The current prison and jail system renders TGNCNBI people invisible and extremely vulnerable to the worst harms of abuse and neglect.

KuntalSaha/Getty Images 

By the Numbers

Many of our LGBTQ+ clients who come from low-income communities and communities of color often live at the intersections of multiple oppressions. Our work helps them overcome the obstacles keeping them from thriving in New York City.


Using a trans child’s correct name at work, school, with friends, and at home can reduce symptoms of depression by 71%.


Of 42 surveyed TGNCNBI individuals who reported surviving sexual violence or sexual harassment while incarcerated in New York State.


Voter eligible transgender people faced barriers to voting due to voter registration requirements and voter ID laws.

A contribution to The Legal Aid Society is about more than money.

Every donation helps us offer essential legal services to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers, helping people buy food, pay rent, and care for themselves and their families.

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