About the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project

Founded in 1986, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender 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 LGBT 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 people think. 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. 

Report HIV/AIDS Discrimination

Issues We Care About


Protecting the rights of LGBT parents and their children is central to achieving equality for all LGBT people. We work to remove all discriminatory restrictions on parenting by challenging laws that ban LGBT people from adopting or becoming foster parents, and fighting the penalties that gay parents face in child custody and visitation. Our work exposes how limits on LGBT parenting hurt kids, debunks myths about same-sex couples raising children, and promotes the diversity of our families.

Marriage and Relationships

The ACLU works for full legal recognition of LGBT relationships through domestic partnerships, civil unions, and, ultimately, marriage. Our cases prove that same-sex couples are harmed when their relationships are not protected through marriage. All couples 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.

Youth and Schools

Our schools program is a special initiative to make schools safe and bias-free for LGBT kids and teachers. For students, this includes the right to free expression, to establish gay-straight alliance clubs, to bring a same-sex date to the prom, and to be taught in an environment respectful of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Gender Identity

The ACLU fights for the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people in employment, schools, and public accommodations. We believe that transgender people's relationships should be recognized and legally protected. Similarly, we help ensure that gender identity is not used against transgender parents in custody and visitation determinations.  We work to include gender identity in state and local anti-discrimination policies, conduct outreach to transgender youth and students on their legal rights, and develop public education campaigns that raise awareness of the types of harms transgender people face.


Protecting basic civil rights is at the heart of everything we do. The Project fought for years to bring down state sodomy laws. Our anti-discrimination activities include employment, housing and public accommodations, criminal justice reform, and the abolition of biased laws and regulations. We advocate for local and federal non-discrimination laws and insist that religious beliefs cannot be used to justify bias.


People should not be deprived of the basic constitutional protections of equality, privacy, and free expression simply because they have HIV. The Project is fighting to eliminate discrimination against people with HIV in employment, especially in sensitive jobs such as health care, food service, and residential and nursing facilities. We help ensure that parent’s rights are not violated simply because of his or her HIV status. The Project also fights against censorship of HIV prevention education.


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 LGBT 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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