The Civil Rights Division's LGBTI Working Group represents every section of the Civil Rights Division. The Working Group and its various subcommittees meet regularly to discuss civil rights issues affecting the LGBTI community, as well as persons living with HIV/AIDS. Topics addressed by the Working Group include sex discrimination, federal policies and legislation affecting the LGBTI community and persons living with HIV/AIDS, discrimination based on HIV/AIDS status, discrimination in prisons and juvenile facilities, and discrimination against intersex individuals. The Working Group regularly engages in outreach with the LGBTI community and other relevant stakeholders on these issues and on the work of the Division.
Over the past several years, the Working Group and its members have sought to protect and advance the civil rights of LGBTI individuals through investigations and litigation, as well as through outreach and education efforts. For more information about the Division's efforts to protect the civil rights of LGBTI individuals, please visit our news and documents pages.
Fighting Discrimination Against LGBTI Individuals
The Division enforces a number of laws that prohibit various forms of discrimination in education, employment, housing, police practices, the juvenile justice system, state and local institutions (jails, prisons, juvenile detention facilities, and health care facilities for persons with disabilities), and Department-funded programs. These laws protect all people (including LGBTI individuals) from sex-based discrimination, which can include discrimination based on sex stereotyping or a person's nonconformity with stereotypes associated with that person's real or perceived gender.
The Division enforces Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (among other factors) in public schools, colleges, and universities. The Division, in partnership with the Department of Education, also enforces Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally-funded education programs and activities. Both laws prohibit discrimination, including harassment, based on a student's sex (including nonconformity with gender stereotypes). The Division's Educational Opportunities Section has brought lawsuits and entered into settlement agreements with educational institutions to protect the rights of LGBTI students who experienced discrimination, including harassment.
The Division enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against public employers. Title VII prohibits discrimination in the workplace, including sex discrimination in recruitment, hiring, assignments and promotions, and pay and benefits. It also prohibits gender-based harassment and retaliation for complaining about discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigates employment discrimination. The EEOC processes complaints of discrimination against transgender individuals as sex discrimination complaints. To file a complaint, contact the EEOC at 1-800-669-4000 or 1-800-669-6820 (TTY).
The Division enforces the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibit discrimination, including sex discrimination, in the sale or rental of housing and in other residential real-estate transactions.
To file a housing discrimination complaint, visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity's website here or call 1-800-669-9777 or 1-800-927-9275 (TTY). To file a lending discrimination complaint, visit the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's website here or call 1-855-411-2372 or 1- 855-729-2372 (TTY).
Defending the Constitutional Rights of People in Institutions
The Division has authority under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) to investigate constitutional violations in state or local prisons, juvenile detention centers, nursing facilities, and other institutions. Examples of constitutional violations include the failure of prison officials to protect LGBTI inmates from violence, the denial of certain kinds of medical treatment to individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria (formerly referred to as Gender Identity Disorder or GID), and unjustified segregation of LGBTI individuals.
Prosecuting Hate Crimes
The Division enforces the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which criminalizes acts of violence that cause bodily injury (and attempts to do so with a dangerous weapon) when motivated by a person's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability (including HIV/AIDS), if the offense is in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce.
To report a hate crime, contact your local Federal Bureau of Investigation field office, which can be found here.
Protecting the Rights of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS
The Division enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities, including persons with HIV/AIDS (either symptomatic or asymptomatic), in public accommodations, employment, and state and local government services. These protections are intended to ensure that those with HIV/AIDS live free of stigma and discrimination based on disability.
For more information or to file a complaint, visit ada.gov/AIDS or call 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY).
Shaping Federal Civil Rights Laws
The Division also files amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," briefs in cases in the federal courts of appeals to advise on issues involving the interpretation or application of one of the federal civil rights laws mentioned above, including in cases involving the rights of LGBTI individuals.
For more information, visit the Appellate Section's website here. For information on how to suggest a federal appellate case as a candidate for amicus curiae participation by the Division, visit the Appellate Section's Amicus Curiae Program website here.