2019-2020 Strategic Plan

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.

Table of Contents

Continuing the Fight

For over 45 years, Lambda Legal worked to address the highest priority needs of members of the LGBTQ+ community and those living with HIV, especially those subject to intersecting discrimination and disadvantage, including members of our community who are people of color; are low income; live in the South or other conservative parts of the country.

As we push forward into 2019, Lambda Legal will continue to serve as a firewall against the escalating attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV, and continue charting the course to a world where our identities and relationships are respected, protected, and celebrated. We will continue to do so through:

  • Impact Litigation
  • Public Policy Advocacy
  • Education and Communication

We will focus on four areas central to achieving equality for all LGBTQ+ persons and everyone living with HIV:

1. Defending LGBTQ+ identities and relationships
2. Strengthening legal protections against LGBTQ+ discrimination
3. Challenging policies harming the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ people and all individuals living with HIV
4. Rooting out anti-LGBTQ+ bias in the justice system

Some examples of our work to advance our rights in these areas include:

1. Continuing to protect LGBTQ+ identities and relationships by, among other things, challenging restrictions on the ability to change one’s name and gender marker on official government-issued identity documents to accurately reflect one’s gender identity, protecting the freedom to marry and the benefits of marriage for same-sex couples, and safeguarding other, significant family relationships.
2. Continuing our efforts to expand and defend protections against LGBTQ+ discrimination within existing laws, and developing and supporting efforts to enact new protections at the federal, state and local level through the passage of new legislation and other policy advocacy.
3. Continuing to challenge policies and practices harming the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ people and individuals living with HIV, such as by reforming antiquated laws that impose disproportionate penalties on people living with HIV or that restrict access to medically necessary transition-related care.
4. Continuing to challenge anti-LGBTQ+ bias in the justice system by monitoring and raising appropriate objections to nominated judges with track records of bias against LGBTQ+ people or people living with HIV, by defending vulnerable LGBT people in government custody, including youth in child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and by developing and distributing cultural competence and anti-bias training for judges, court personnel, and attorneys.

How We'll Do This

Impact Litigation:

  • Strategically litigate select cases in federal and state courts across the country in each of Lambda Legal’s program priority areas to advance full, formal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV.
  • Support the litigation efforts of other advocacy organizations and the private bar by authoring friend-of-the-court briefs, sharing our strategic thinking, and in other ways to ensure the best possible outcomes in litigation affecting LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV.
  • Advise attorneys working with LGBTQ+ clients or clients living with HIV to improve understanding of potential consequences of their cases and to increase coordination with, and effectiveness of, advocacy by the private bar.
  • Consult and coordinate with supportive government entities (e.g., state Attorneys General) on impact litigation to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV.
  • Inform our strategic case selection with information about community need to be gathered by our Legal Help Desk attorneys during their interactions with community members requesting our assistance.

Public Policy Advocacy:

  • Provide legal analysis, model bill language, and other information to federal, state and local policymakers on issues affecting the civil rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV.
  • Partner with federal, state and local civil rights and other organizations to support the enactment of laws, the development of regulations, and the issuance of other official guidance documents to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, people living with HIV, and their families.
  • Defend the integrity of the justice system by demanding fair and impartial judges in the federal and state system, challenging anti-LGBTQ+/HIV bias wherever it occurs within the justice system, and creating LGBTQ+/HIV advocacy and education tools to ensure cultural competence among officers of the court.
  • Support non-LGBTQ+-specific public policy initiatives that will affect the legal rights, safety, and security of the LGBTQ+ community and everyone living with HIV.

Education and Communication:

  • Explain the meaning of our litigation to the non-legal public, enhance its impact and amplify the voices of our plaintiffs and our attorneys.
  • Shape public narratives that lay the groundwork for legal reform through earned media, social media, and paid media.
  • Tell the stories of our clients in ways that motivate supporters to action and decision-makers and opinion leaders to new understandings of our community, using video, blogs, and social media.
  • Provide expert analysis, rapid response, and commentary on political and legal developments that reinforce our brand as trusted authorities.
  • Strengthen public support and awareness of the role of the courts.
  • Provide accurate and accessible “know your rights” information to LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV through digital and printed publications and through training and presentations in communities.
  • Grow our audiences and reach through continued investment in our digital channels and marketing channels.
  • Equip our Board, National Leadership Council, staff, donors, and supporters with the tools and talking points to be ambassadors for Lambda Legal and amplify our reach and influence further.

Lambda Legal Board of Directors