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Student Work

In the Harvard LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic (the “Clinic”), students work on cutting-edge issues involving LGBTQ+ rights, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting underrepresented communities within the LGBTQ+ community. Clinic offerings include local and national projects covering the spectrum of LGBTQ+ issues. Students will have the opportunity to engage in a range of work encompassing various strategies for advancing LGBTQ+ rights, including impact litigation and legislative and policy advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ+ clients.

The Clinic’s impact cases include Amaya Cruz v. Miami-Dade County, a federal suit on behalf of three trans young people arrested while participating in Black Lives Matter protests and subjected to degrading treatment while jailed; Hersom v. Crouch, a constitutional challenge to West Virginia’s refusal to change trans people’s birth certificate gender markers; and Lopez v. NYC Department of Homeless Services, a settlement that secured landmark reforms in the New York City shelter system for trans and gender nonconforming residents.

The Clinic’s amicus practice includes briefs challenging the Department of Health and Human Services’ attempt to rescind non-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act, and on behalf of senior former corrections officials attesting to the high risk of sexual assault experienced by transgender women in prisons

The Clinic’s regulatory work includes a published white paper on federal agency enforcement of sex-discrimination protections on behalf of nonbinary people, as well as a regulatory comment opposing the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s attempt to allow temporary and emergency shelters to discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming people by denying them access to single-sex shelters consistent with their gender identity. The Clinic is also engaged in boundary-pushing work in the legislative and policy realms, including in the areas of intersex and polyamory advocacy.

The Clinic is housed within the WilmerHale Legal Services Center (LSC), a general practice community law office in Jamaica Plain. LSC’s diverse clinics provide clinical instruction to second- and third-year law students and serve as a laboratory for the innovative delivery of legal services. Students are taught and mentored under the supervision and guidance of a clinical instructor in one of LSC’s clinical practices.

How to Register

The LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters. You can learn about the required clinical course component, clinical credits and the clinical registration process by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.

Spring 2024 Early Drop Deadline: September 1, 2023

Meet the Instructors

headshot of Alex Chen

Alexander Chen

Founding Director; Clinical Instructor; Lecturer on Law

Alexander Chen is the Founding Director of the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic. Alexander’s work focuses on expanding the rights of LGBTQ+ people through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and direct representation at both the national and local levels. Previously, Alexander worked at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, one of the nation’s leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations. At NCLR, Alexander engaged in LGBTQ+ impact litigation and policy advocacy in education, employment, health care, housing, prisons, and juvenile justice and child welfare settings. Alexander was a member of the litigation team in the transgender military cases Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump, as well as the landmark Ninth Circuit transgender prisoner surgery access case Edmo v. Corizon. He also co-drafted AB 2119, a bill that made California the first state to guarantee access to transition-related health care for trans youth in foster care. He is also a co-founder of the National Trans Bar Association. Alexander received his B.A. from Oxford University, his M.A. from Columbia University, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was the first openly transgender editor of the Harvard Law Review and worked on trans issues at the Department of Justice, the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, and the National Center for Transgender Equality. He clerked on the Ninth Circuit for the Hon. M. Margaret McKeown, and in the Southern District of California for the Hon. Gonzalo P. Curiel.

Maya Satya Reddy

Clinical Fellow

Maya Satya Reddy (she/her) is the Harvard Law School’s LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic’s Clinical Fellow, where she works on a self-designed project to protect the rights of, and promote the inclusion and well-being of, LGBTQ+ student athletes through litigation, legislative advocacy, and policy advocacy/public education. Maya is a queer South Asian former professional golfer, LGBTQ+ athlete activist, Athlete Ally Ambassador, founder of the Queer Asian Social Club, and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. During her time as a law student, she co-designed and developed the first ever South Asian Law Student’s Association symposium on the 100thanniversary of United States v. Thind; edited the University of Pennsylvania’s Journal of Constitutional Law; served as co-president of Penn Law Lambda; and authored two pieces defending trans athletes in the University of Pennsylvania Regulatory Review and with Teach for America. Previously Maya worked for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and the Philadelphia Legal Assistance where she represented clients at administrative hearings before an Unemployment Compensation Board of Review referee.

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