News & Commentary written by Gabriel Arkles

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Gabriel Arkles

Former Senior Counsel, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund


Gabriel Arkles was previously a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project.

His work includes protecting transgender people from discrimination and fighting the criminalization of HIV. While at the ACLU, Gabriel has brought challenges to an anti-trans ballot initiative in Montana; defended trans youth in Maryland and Oregon when anti-trans advocates challenged school policies that gave trans students equal access to facilities; and challenged state policies that denied trans people equal access to identity documents in Alabama and Ohio. He is also on the team representing Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman fired from her job as a funeral director because of her sex.

Gabriel has authored many pieces about gender, race, and disability, especially in the context of prisons and the military. His articles have appeared in NYU Law Review, Northeastern Law Journal, NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, Seattle Journal for Social Justice, CUNY Law Review Footnote Forum, Southwestern Law Review, Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review, NYU Journal of Law and Social Change, Scholar and Feminist Online, The Writing Instructor, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, and Signs. His news analysis and opinion pieces have appeared in TruthOut and CBS. His essays also appear in books, including The Unfinished Queer Agenda After Marriage Equality; Affirmative Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients; Socially Just Generalist Practice: Putting Theory Into Action; LGBT America Encyclopedia; Trans Bodies, Trans Selves; and Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith, and Sexuality.

Gabriel received the Dukeminier Award for best sexual orientation law review article in 2009 and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project Award for outstanding pro bono service in 2010.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Gabriel worked at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project for six years. While there, he represented low-income trans and gender nonconforming people of color on many issues, particularly prison conditions. He also taught legal skills to law students for seven years, first at NYU School of Law and then at Northeastern School of Law.