By Jessen O’Brien

Since 2002, Transgender Law Center (TLC) has worked to advance its mission of advocating for the self-determination for all people.

Today it is the largest trans-led organization in the country. In recent years, TLC has won precedent-setting legal cases, such as Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District and Quine v. Beard; made its commitment to racial justice a central part of its mission; and more than doubled in size.

We talked with Andrew Ortiz, a Staff Attorney at TLC, to learn more about the work this Industrious 594 Dean member company is doing to transform law, policy, and attitudes to create a world in which all people can live free from gender discrimination.

Tell us about the Transgender Law Center and the work you do to advance your mission.

TLC engages in trans-led, trans-centered strategic litigation, policy advocacy, educational efforts, and movement building. We create special programs to meet the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) communities.

Why is this mission so important?

Everyone deserves safety, dignity, and the freedom to thrive. Transgender and gender nonconforming people hold the resilience, brilliance, and power to transform society at its root. We must trust and support the leadership of trans people, particularly Black trans women and femmes. When Black trans women and femmes are free to live and lead, all transgender women of color, all Black people, all transgender people, and ultimately all people will be free.

Why do you love what you do?

I get to work with brilliant people dedicated to materially improving the lives of transgender and gender nonconforming people.

How does your Industrious workplace inform your work?

We are fortunate to share space with other organizations committed to the safety and liberation of transgender people. Trans Justice Funding Project and Immigration Equality both have offices at 594 Dean Street.

What does a great day at work look like to you?

Great days at work include providing legal information to transgender people across the country who reach out to TLC’s Legal Information Helpdesk; advocating for the rights of transgender people in prison; or partnering with coalitions and community-based organizations across the country to mobilize resources to support trans people and communities.

How can people support the Transgender Law Center?

The Trans Agenda for Liberation is a community-created blueprint for everyone to follow to join the struggle for everyone’s liberation. Review the agenda and consider how you can support the revolutionary vision and power of transgender people. And if you have resources, donate to trans liberation.

What’s next for the Transgender Law Center? Do you have any upcoming initiatives or projects you’d like to share?

Decriminalizing sex work, ending trans detention and the criminalization of HIV, and challenging the criminalization of self-defense are just a few of the initiatives we’ve been focused on and will continue to organize around. Our future work will continue to be guided by the Trans Agenda for Liberation.