Cases

Find Your State

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

Docket (Open Cases)

Lambda Legal represents Jason Yoakam, a transgender man incarcerated at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW) in Troy, Virginia. The Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) has denied a bilateral mastectomy, or chest surgery, for Jason on the basis that it is not medically necessary. VDOC has also denied requests that Mr. Yoakam receive mental health care for treatment of gender dysphoria from qualified mental health providers and other reasonable accommodations.
Lambda Legal and the University of Denver School of Law, Civil Rights Clinic filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Divinity Rios urging the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a district court’s order that dismissed her complaint despite controlling Supreme Court precedent in Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994) that established that prison officials have a constitutional duty to protect vulnerable incarcerated people from sexual violence.

Recent Victories

A lawsuit against the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of a 65-year-old gay man seeking spousal survivor’s benefits based on his 43-year relationship with his husband, who died seven months after Arizona began allowing same-sex couples to marry. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Michael Ely in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona argues that SSA’s imposition of a nine-month marriage requirement for social security survivor’s benefits is unconstitutional where same-sex couples were not able to be married for nine months because of discriminatory marriage laws. If you married your same-sex spouse, but were unable to be married for at least nine months before your spouse’s death because of discriminatory marriage laws where you lived, you may be a member of the Ely class. Click here for the Ely FAQ: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/20210212_ely_faq
Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit challenging Kansas’ refusal to correct the gender marker on birth certificates for transgender individuals. At the time of the filing, Kansas was one of just three states, along with Tennessee and Ohio, that had yet to change this extremely regressive and outdated policy.

Landmark Cases

A lawsuit against the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of a 65-year-old gay man seeking spousal survivor’s benefits based on his 43-year relationship with his husband, who died seven months after Arizona began allowing same-sex couples to marry. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Michael Ely in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona argues that SSA’s imposition of a nine-month marriage requirement for social security survivor’s benefits is unconstitutional where same-sex couples were not able to be married for nine months because of discriminatory marriage laws. If you married your same-sex spouse, but were unable to be married for at least nine months before your spouse’s death because of discriminatory marriage laws where you lived, you may be a member of the Ely class. Click here for the Ely FAQ: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/20210212_ely_faq
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision approving the analysis Lambda Legal has been advancing for fifteen years that discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is sex discrimination, and violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This federal law, which often is referred to as “Title VII,” prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion.

Selected Cases

Lambda Legal represents Jason Yoakam, a transgender man incarcerated at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW) in Troy, Virginia. The Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) has denied a bilateral mastectomy, or chest surgery, for Jason on the basis that it is not medically necessary. VDOC has also denied requests that Mr. Yoakam receive mental health care for treatment of gender dysphoria from qualified mental health providers and other reasonable accommodations.
On January 8, 2020, Lambda Legal together with the Northern Justice Project filed an amended complaint in a federal lawsuit initially filed on March 4, 2019 challenging Alaska’s explicit exclusion of medically-necessary transgender health care services from coverage through the Alaska Medicaid program. This exclusion deprived transgender, gender nonconforming and non-binary Alaskans of lifesaving treatments and services, in addition to subjecting them to discrimination, harassment and abuse.