Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project

Document Date: March 16, 2006

Founded in 1986, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV Project is a special division of the American Civil Liberties Union. The project staff are experts in constitutional law and civil rights, specializing in sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV.

What We Do

The project brings impact lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the country, cases designed to have a significant effect on the lives of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. In coalition with other civil rights groups, we also lobby in Congress and support grassroots advocacy from local school boards to state legislatures. Our legal strategies are built on the idea that fighting for civil rights means not just persuading judges but ultimately changing the way America thinks about LGBTQ people. As we litigate for change, we implement targeted media, online, and outreach campaigns to change public attitudes through education and to give people on the frontlines the tools they need to act.

If you’ve been discriminated against based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status, the ACLU wants to hear about it.

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Our Issues
Trans Justice

Trans and non-binary people belong in our country. Yet anti-trans politicians are trying to push them out of public life. Transgender people are being pushed out of health care, sports, restrooms, and the military. In addition to fighting these attacks, the ACLU is working to improve access to accurate IDs and end the violence against trans and non-binary people in our criminal legal system. We share the stories of trans and non-binary people — as leaders on our team, in communities, and as clients — to build public support for trans justice and educate people about the harms of discrimination.


Protecting basic civil rights is at the heart of everything we do. Our clients Aimee Stephens and Don Zarda had a historic victory when the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that anti-LGBTQ discrimination violates the federal law against discrimination in the workplace. We continue to fight for the Equality Act and in courts to make it clear that no one should experience discrimination because of who they are or who they love, and to ensure that religion is not used as a license to discriminate.


People should not be deprived of the basic constitutional protections of equality, privacy, and free expression simply because they have HIV. Many states continue to make living with HIV a crime. We are fighting to decriminalize HIV and eliminate discrimination against people with HIV in employment, especially in sensitive jobs such as health care, food service, and residential and nursing facilities.

Relationships and Parenting

All families should be able to access the benefits and responsibilities of legally recognized relationships, such as health insurance, unemployment compensation, immigration status, family leave, inheritance, hospital visitation, and much more. We work to remove all discriminatory restrictions on parenting by challenging laws and policies that limit LGBTQ people’s options for becoming parents.

Youth and Schools

Our schools program is a special initiative to make schools safe and bias-free for LGBTQ kids and teachers. For students, this includes the right to free expression, to be open about their gender identity and sexuality, to maintain their privacy, to wear clothing that matches who they are, and to be taught in an environment respectful of their identity.


America’s foremost advocate of individual rights, the American Civil Liberties Union is a nonpartisan organization founded in 1920. With national headquarters in New York and Washington and affiliates throughout the country, the ACLU is widely regarded as the nation’s premier public interest law firm. The ACLU believes that the only way to protect freedom is to stand fast for the idea that everyone, no matter how unpopular, has the same rights.

As a part of the ACLU, the Project is in a unique position to advocate for fairness and equality. The ACLU’s national network of affiliates broadens the Project’s reach into every locality and into the federal government. Today, the ACLU brings more LGBT cases and advocacy initiatives than any other national civil rights organization. As part of the broad civil liberties agenda of the ACLU, the Project brings together the LGBTQ and HIV communities to work in concert with other social change movements in order to achieve a just society for all.

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