This week in history: The National Center for Lesbian Rights is born
Quinn Dombrowski

This month the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) celebrates its first 40 years of life. NCLR is a non-profit, public interest law firm in the United States that advocates for equitable public policies affecting the LGBT community, provides free legal assistance to LGBT clients and their legal advocates, and conducts community education on LGBT legal issues. Headquartered in San Francisco with an office in Washington, D.C., it is the only organization in the U.S. dedicated to lesbian legal issues, and the largest national lesbian organization in terms of members.

Through impact litigation, public policy advocacy, public education, collaboration with other social justice organizations and activists, and direct legal services, NCLR advances the legal and human rights of LGBT people and their families across the country.

NCLR was founded as the Lesbian Rights Project in 1977 by Donna Hitchens and other members of Equal Rights Advocates. Roberta Achtenberg served as the second Executive Director. Kate Kendell is the current executive director, and Shannon Minter is the legal director.

In 1977, a brave and determined woman, fresh out of law school and eager to make a difference, decided to put her knowledge to good use. As a legal scholar, Donna Hitchens saw the courtroom as a way to change the world. As a lesbian, she had experienced frustrations and fears, both personal and professional, and didn’t want others to suffer the same. As a future parent, she knew she would face even more challenges ahead.

The NCLR was born. Today, that pioneering spirit and unwavering commitment to advance LGBT equality continues. Specific projects and legal issue areas include: Asylum & Immigration; Elders; Employment; Family & Relationships; Federal Legislation & Policy; State Legislation & Policy; Hate Crimes; Healthcare; Housing; Low Income & Poverty; Prisons; Rural Communities; Sports; Transgender Law; and Youth. NCLR’s work creates safer homes, safer jobs, and a more just world.

Each year, NCLR shapes the legal landscape for all LGBT people and families across the nation through its precedent-setting litigation, legislation, policy, and public education.

For 40 years NCLR has led historic cases, and is still blazing trails in pursuit of justice, fairness, and legal protections for all LGBT people.

On May 20, NCLR hosts a 40th anniversary celebration in San Francisco at Innovation Hangar at The Palace of Fine Arts. For further information or questions see the NCLR website here.

Sources: NCLR and Wikipedia.



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