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Established in 2007, the LGBTQ+ Program at CRLA seeks to improve the quality of life and access to justice for LGBTQ+ people living in rural California through trainings, outreach, advocacy, community leadership and collaborations, and free direct legal assistance.

If you are in need of legal services contact or (800) 567-5339. LGBTQ+ staff are bilingual in English and Spanish, and interpretation services are available for other languages at no charge.

Poverty and Justice are LGBTQ+ Issues

Fighting injustice, poverty, and inequity for low-income LGBTQ+ individuals and their families in rural California requires a highly intersectional approach. CRLA’s holistic approach to community advocacy is designed to address the unique challenges that LGBTQ+ people face in rural California, from higher poverty rates and employment discrimination to unwelcoming education and health care systems, and threats of violence or deportation.

When LGBTQ+ people are less likely to access legal services due to stigma or fear of harassment, referrals to legal service providers like CRLA who have established connections and trust with local LGBTQ+ communities result in a significantly increased likelihood that a legal intervention will successfully address the person’s legal need.

CRLA LGBTQ+ Program Approach

The LGBTQ+ Program combines free direct legal services with community outreach and education, community leadership development, technical assistance, and collaborations with other CRLA staff and legal services providers to provide trauma-informed, culturally sensitive services to address the complex legal needs of LGBTQ+ communities across rural California.

Our approach includes:

  • providing bilingual (Spanish and English) legal services, community legal education, and leadership development opportunities.
  • building active, sustained partnerships with rural LGBTQ+ community centers, supportive organizations, and public agencies.
  • monitoring and engaging local public entities that directly impact LGBTQ+ communities.

The LGBTQ+ Program started in 2007 with a law fellow in the Salinas office to provide internal support for CRLA staff on cultural competency skills and substantive knowledge of LGBTQ+ legal issues. Since then, CRLA’s LGBTQ+ Program has expanded to address community needs into a team of two attorneys, two community workers, and a program coordinator.

LGBTQ+ Program Practice Areas

  • Name and Gender Marker Corrections
  • Immigration
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Healthcare
  • Public Benefits

LGBTQ+ Program Service Areas

The LGBTQ+ Program team provides training, community outreach, community education, technical assistance, and limited advice and counseling on LGBTQ+ legal matters statewide across all CRLA’s service areas.

Extended legal representation focuses on seven Central Valley and Central Coast counties: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Fresno, Kern, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz.

How to Support CRLA’s LGBTQ+ Program

  • Internships for law student and undergrads are available year-round
  • Post-graduate law fellowship proposals to expand LGBTQ+ Program services to more CRLA service areas
  • Volunteer for pro bono case placement, co-counseling, technical assistance, or community legal clinics
  • Donate! Make a tax-deductible donation to support the LGBTQ+ Program


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