Professor Alexander Chen is the Founding Director of the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic at Harvard Law School, where he also teaches Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and the Law. He is one of the nation’s leading experts in LGBTQ+ civil rights law. His work has been featured in the New York Times, The Economist, Bloomberg, Slate, the Boston Globe, and many other media venues.
Prof. Chen’s groundbreaking clinical program has achieved landmark impact litigation settlements (Lopez v. Department of Homeless Services, Hersom v. Crouch, Amaya Cruz v. Miami-Dade County), notched legislative victories (passed first-in-the-nation multiple domestic partnership and non-discrimination ordinances, and defeated anti-transgender state legislation), and published influential amicus briefs, regulatory comments, and white papers (including on non-binary rights, intersex rights, trans sports, trans youth, prisoners’ rights, veterans’ rights, and digital harassment and cybersecurity).
Previously, Prof. Chen worked at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, where he helped litigate the trans military cases Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump, the landmark Ninth Circuit trans prisoner surgery case Edmo v. Corizon, and co-drafted AB 2119, a bill that made California the first state to mandate access to gender-affirming care for trans foster youth.
Prof. Chen has been named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Law & Policy, one of the 40 Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBTQ Bar Association, and Best Under 40 by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. For his teaching, he was awarded the Harvard AAPI/APIDA Affinity Celebration Faculty Award in 2023, which recognizes one Harvard University faculty member for their outstanding mentorship of AAPI/APIDA students. He was also one of three professors chosen by the 2023 Harvard Law School graduating class to deliver a “Last Lecture,” Living a Good Life as a Socially Conscious Lawyer.
Prof. Chen attended Oxford University (B.A. 2009), Columbia University (M.A. 2012), and Harvard Law School (J.D. 2015), where he was the first openly transgender editor of the Harvard Law Review and a recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. 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. He also co-founded the National Trans Bar Association and the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition and co-authored the Trans Youth Handbook.
- J.D. Harvard Law School, 2015
- M.A. English and Comparative Literature Columbia University, 2011
- B.A. English Language and Literature University of Oxford, 2009
- Katherine L. Kraschel, Alexander Chen, Jack L. Turban & I. Glenn Cohen, Legislation restricting gender-affirming care for transgender youth: Politics eclipse healthcare, 3 Cell Reps. Med. (2022).