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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.

headshot of Anya Marino

Anya Marino

Clinical Instructor

Anya A. Marino (she/her) instructs Harvard Law School’s LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic. Through litigation, education, and other advocacy methods she advances LGBTQ+ rights and justice for other marginalized communities. Previously, Anya was the Deputy Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, where she oversaw the ACLU of Florida’s voting rights litigation and litigated LGBTQ+ and First Amendment cases. Anya was an integral member of the ACLU’s litigation team challenging legislative and executive efforts to undermine Florida’s 2018 Voting Restoration Amendment, which endeavored to restore voting rights to approximately 1.4 million people with previous felony convictions. She led the ACLU of Florida’s ongoing participation in Claire v. Florida Department of Management Services and represented three transgender state employees categorically denied medically necessary gender-affirming care by the State of Florida. Additionally, she led the ACLU of Florida’s ongoing litigation in The Dream Defenders v. DeSantis, which seeks to invalidate the governor and legislature’s 2021 racially motivated anti-protest act. Anya remains the first openly transgender woman of color to serve in any senior legal position throughout the ACLU’s federation of national and affiliate offices. Anya graduated from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from The Johns Hopkins University. Anya is admitted to practice in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Florida.

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.

In the News

  • New Hampshire Must Continue to Reject Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation

    Via LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic Blog SB 272 Is The Only Remaining Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Under Consideration April 13, 2023 CONCORD, NH – Today, the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic (the Clinic) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) jointly celebrate the New Hampshire House of Representatives’ rejection of HB 619, a bill that would have banned transgender

    April 19, 2023

  • Featured image for 4 Skadden Fellows selected from Class of 2023, all clinic alumni article

    4 Skadden Fellows selected from Class of 2023, all clinic alumni

    Four members of the HLS Class of 2023 have been selected as recipients of the Skadden Fellowship, a two-year fellowship to pursue public interest law on a full-time basis. The Skadden Foundation launched the fellowship in 1988, in line with their mission aiming to expand the legal services available to economically disadvantaged communities by supporting

    March 29, 2023

  • Settlement reached on birth certificate gender markers, names in West Virginia

    Via Washington Blade The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Vital Registration Office has introduced more accessible and safer policies for transgender people seeking to amend their birth certificates. This action implemented as a result of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of West Virginia and the

    October 28, 2022