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Advocacy for LGBT Practicum

The LGBT practicum is dedicated to achieving equal rights and dignity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBT persons, especially LGBT persons of color, have been on the rise — the practicum's goal is to assist LGBT persons fighting discrimination in a variety of legal and administrative settings.

Practicum students represent diverse members of the LGBT community in a range of civil legal matters. Examples of cases the practicum has worked on include:

  • Representing a lesbian woman whose property was targeted for vandalism by coworkers
  • Bringing an action for discrimination against a veterinary clinic who refused treatment to a gravely ill animal because of the pet owner’s gender identity
  • Suing an upstate hospital that harassed and prematurely discharged a patient because of their gender identity resulting in a failure to diagnose a life-threatening illness

One of the practicum’s most important services is the program for name and gender marker changes. Discrimination against transgender persons is often exacerbated by their identity documents being misaligned with regard to their legal name and gender marker.

Practicum Resources, Projects, and Cases

Participating in the Practicum

For Potential Clients

The Cornell Law School Advocacy for LGBT Communities Practicum provides free legal assistance to low-income LGBT people in Tompkins County and the surrounding area. To be eligible for our services, you must:

  • Identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender
  • Be unable to afford a lawyer to help you
  • Reside in one of these New York counties: Tompkins, Cayuga, Onondaga, Cortland, Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Schuyler, or Seneca

The LGBT practicum assists clients with the following kinds of cases:

  • Antigay or anti-transgender discrimination in employment and public places
  • Legal name changes and obtaining identity documents with the correct gender on them
  • Family law issues including second-parent adoption, domestic violence, and divorce
  • Wills, powers of attorney, and other advance planning documents
  • LGBT students’ rights at school
  • Immigration, including asylum based on sexual orientation or gender identity and assistance for binational couples

If you would like more information or to request assistance, please call our office at (607) 255-4196 or email lgbt-clinic@cornell.edu.

Please note that due to limited resources we can only take on new cases at certain times during the year. If our intake is closed or we are unable to assist you, we will refer you to another organization that may be able to help.


LGBT Clinic
(607) 255-4196

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