Patricia Harrington, Intake Coordinator
Patricia is a native New Yorker. After graduating from Queens College with a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics, she had a twenty year career as a programmer and medical physicist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She entered Pace Law School in 2006. During the summer of her first year she interned with the Westchester County Law Department assisting child abuse and neglect attorneys in Family Court. At Pace, she was active in the Public Interest Scholarship Organization, Lambda Law Students, and the Women’s Association of Law Students. Prior to entering law school, Patricia spent a year as a volunteer tutor at the Hetrick-Martin Institute. She is committed to eliminating the discriminatory obstacles facing transgender people in daily life. In her spare time she works on her personal animation projects.
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Rita Renner, Bookkeeper
Rita is TLDEF’s bookkeeper. She also works as a bookkeeper for other non-profit organizations and teaches QuickBooks. Prior to joining TLDEF, she was in charge of accounts payable and payroll for the town of Darien, CT and then used her masters degree in music education to teach. She taught band and orchestra for over ten years before playing the trombone for national Broadway tours and on cruise ships. Rita settled in New York City in 2000 and has been performing as both an instrumentalist and actor. She is a past president of Crossdressers International and is an avid supporter of TLDEF.
Jillian Weiss, Executive Direrctor
Jillian T. Weiss is a nationally recognized transgender rights attorney and law professor with three decades of legal experience. Jillian has a powerful track record of fighting for the rights of transgender people in the workplace. Her cases have resulted in landmark settlements and rulings increasing protections for transgender employees and sending an unmistakable message that employment bias will not be tolerated. She is also one of the nation’s preeminent transgender discrimination scholars who keenly understands the power of the courts and progressive government in achieving transgender equality under the law.
Prior to her appointment, Weiss was a tenured Professor of Law and Society at Ramapo College of New Jersey and the founder of the Law Office of Jillian T. Weiss P.C. She has a Ph.D. in Law, Policy and Society from Northeastern University and a J.D. from Seton Hall Law School, as well as a B.A. in Classics from Yeshiva University. Among her milestone cases are Jamal v. Saks & Co., an employment discrimination case against Saks Fifth Avenue, and Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales, LLC, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a transgender woman may take her employment discrimination case against a Georgia auto sales company to trial.
In 2014, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chose her client’s case as the first of two to be litigated by the Commission on behalf of a transgender employee. EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, PA, resulted in a six-figure settlement. The Department of Justice followed suit in March 2015, in the case of US v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University, which is pending in an Oklahoma federal court. In addition, Weiss and the EEOC brought a transgender employment discrimination lawsuit against Deluxe Financial Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest check-printing companies. The suit resulted in a large settlement and sweeping workplace policy changes at the company.
Jillian is a past board member of Lambda Legal, has been Chair of the annual Trans Law Symposium, and has consulted with private and public organizations regarding gender identity policy and employee gender transitions, including Harvard University, Boeing and New York City.
Jillian is committed to dismantling the systemic discrimination that inordinately burdens trans people, particularly people of color and others caught at the intersection of multiple forms of prejudice, such as race, class and gender bias.
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Sara Wight, Legal Assistant
Sara is an activist and artist based in New York City, originally from Long Island, New York. They graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in History and Anthropology. They have pushed the transgender agenda in their personal and professional life, and have been profiled by Refinery29. After interning for a year here at TLDEF they are very excited to become a more active member of staff. They are passionate about social justice and exploring the different needs of intersectional identities. When not at TLDEF Sara enjoys doing yoga, reading, and exploring all the food New York City has to offer.
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Ezra Young, Staff Attorney
Ezra is TLDEF’s staff attorney. His work centers on trans rights, with a focus on rights of recognition, employment protections, and health care and insurance coverage issues.
Ezra has represented trans clients in several ground-breaking Title VII cases, including: Jamal v. Saks, Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales, EEOC v. Deluxe Financial Services, EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, and United States et al. v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University et al.. Ezra has also represented trans clients in administrative actions across the country, including appeals cases seeking coverage for transition related medical care. In early 2016, Ezra won an appeals case before the Medicare Appeals Council, the first case in which the Council ordered a health plan to cover vaginal reconstruction surgery for a transgender woman.
Ezra received a BA in Philosophy from Cornell University. Ezra received his JD from Columbia Law School. While in law school, Ezra was Executive Managing Editor of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law and Online & Consulting Editor of the Columbia Journal of Race and Law.
Ezra served as Post Doctoral Scholar at Columbia Law School from 2012 to 2014, focussing on trans rights, critical race theory, and intersectionality; Ezra’s studies were supervised by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw. Concurrently, Ezra served as research director of the Columbia Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies and legal director of the African American Policy Forum.
Prior to joining TLDEF, Ezra was an associate at the Law Firm of Jillian T. Weiss, P.C.
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