About Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, or TLDEF, was founded in 2003. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has set out to “end discrimination and achieve equality for transgender people, particularly those in our most vulnerable communities.” The legal team at TLDEF does individual casework as well as “friend of the court” briefs for cases having to do the issues of employment, health care, education, and public accommodations for trans folks.
Impact litigation is one of the TLDEF’s main avenues for trans justice. The Impact Litigation Program handles a small amount of cases so it can hone in on the unique issues of each one, thus best taking advantage of the opportunity to establish new precedents protecting trans and nonbinary folks. The Name Change Project is the organization’s legal service that “provides pro bono legal name change services to low-income transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people” by partnering with the nation’s leading law firms and corporate law departments. The program is available in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
The Trans Health Project is the TLDEF’s project to provide comprehensive education about and access to transgender-health-related care. The project also aims to foster a strong movement for health care equity for all identities. In order to achieve this, the TLDEF has put together a team of attorneys that are well-equipped to challenge the exclusions and medical necessity denials that transgender people face in their health care experiences. It also runs a national health care helpline to give assistance and education. On the legal side of things, the Trans Health Project “engages in alternative dispute resolution and policy advocacy to establish positive precedent in priority areas including Medicaid, employee-sponsored health plans, and ending the ongoing categorical exclusions for common surgeries such as facial surgery and chest surgery for transgender minors.”
The TLDEF team is a passionate, tight-knit group that puts an emphasis on curiosity and humility to uplift trans and non-binary voices in the issues that impact them most. Because the team is small, compensation and benefits are more robust than other non-profit legal services. By prioritizing the wellbeing of its staff, the TLDEF is able to do its best work and continue to pursue justice and equality for trans and nonbinary people.
520 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018
Phone: (646) 862-9396
Executive Director: Andy Marra
New York, NY
Internship + Volunteerism