Impact Litigation

Impact Litigation Program


TLDEF’s Impact Litigation Program brings cases and files friend of the court briefs in local, state, and federal tribunals across the country—expanding access to opportunity and democratic participation for all members of the transgender community.


TLDEF’s litigation work focuses on combating discrimination in four key areas: Healthcare, Employment, Public Accommodations, and Education.


Health Care: All patients should be able to access health care. Our health care litigation seeks to ensure both that transgender people are treated fairly in doctors’ offices and hospitals, and that transgender people are treated fairly by healthcare insurers and administrators.


Employment: No one should be treated poorly because of who they are. Unfortunately, transgender people experience high rates of workplace discrimination. Our employment litigation aims to ensure that transgender people can apply for jobs, transition on the job without fear of being fired, and access employment benefits like employer-provided health care, free from discrimination.


Public Accommodations: Everyone should be able to access hotels, public transportation, public restrooms, and other public facilities on equal terms. Our public accommodations litigation seeks to break down barriers that keep transgender people from actively participating in public life.


Education: Our nation’s schools and colleges should treat all students respectfully. Our education work aims to ensure that students are able to attend and complete their schooling free from discrimination.



If you have experienced discrimination and want TLDEF to help you, see below to learn about our process.


If you are interested in having TLDEF file a friend of the court brief in a case, please contact Donna Levinsohn, Senior Staff Attorney.


Our Process


TLDEF’s Impact Litigation Program takes a small number of new discrimination cases every year, based on our strategy for creating the most impact for transgender rights. This is how our process works:


Step 1: Click here to fill out our discrimination intake form. Starting in August 2016, TLDEF moved to an online intake system. All requests for help with discrimination matters must be submitted to TLDEF via the online intake form. We do not schedule intakes in person or via telephone. Rather, a TLDEF lawyer reviews every intake form submitted and will respond to you via email on a first come, first served basis. We typically respond to intakes via email within 15 business days.

Step 2: TLDEF evaluates your potential case. We take each intake very seriously and do our best to thoroughly evaluate every potential case. After an internal investigation is completed, we respond to intakes via email. There are 3 possible responses:

Decline. Unfortunately, we are unable to help everyone who asks for our help. If we determine that we cannot represent you, we will notify you via email.

Request for more information. Sometimes information is missing from an intake form or our attorneys require more information before making a decision. In such instances, a TLDEF attorney will reach out to you via email to gather more information so that we can make a decision on your case.

Offer of representation. TLDEF takes on a small number of new cases every year. If TLDEF is interested in your case, a TLDEF lawyer will contact you via email and advise you of next steps.


Step 3: Representation. If TLDEF and the potential client both desire to proceed with the case, TLDEF and the client will sign a retainer agreement—this is a special contract that creates a legal relationship between TLDEF and the client. Once a retainer agreement is signed, TLDEF is able to give legal advice and take steps to help the client directly.

Step 4: Legal Advocacy. Each case and client are different. We tailor our work to what best suits our clients and the larger transgender community. Typically representation involves filing complaints with administrative agencies and eventually bringing a case to a court.