National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)

This is a logo for National Center for Lesbian Rights. (link)



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $8,859,587
Expenses: $4,975,957
Assets: $7,337,899



Executive Director:

Imani Rupert-Gordon


Legal Activism/Advocacy

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), formerly known as the Lesbian Rights Project, is a left-of-center legal advocacy organization that provides pro bono legal services for LGBT causes and advocates for policy changes in related issue areas.

Founded in 1977 by lawyer Donna Hitchens, NCLR frequently files amicus curiae briefs in cases that the Center finds relevant to LGBT issues, particularly in cases in which the plaintiff claims to have been discriminated against based on gender or sexual orientation. NCLR also supports left-of-center causes unrelated to LGBT activism, supporting the Sex Worker Advocates Coalition which seeks to make prostitution legal in the District of Columbia. NCLR also supports the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s UpEND project, an initiative that seeks to fully abolish the foster care system on the grounds that it is allegedly racist and discriminates against LGBT individuals. 1 NCLR also partners with the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Common Ground Initiative, which seeks to create dialogue with groups that oppose same-sex relationships for religious reasons. 2


Imani Rupert-Gordon is the current executive direct of the NCLR. Rupert-Gordon formerly worked as director of Affinity Community Services and Broadway Youth, two LGBT advocacy organizations. Rupert-Gordon was also a founding board member of Point the Way Chicago, and worked as an executive committee member for United Pride, an LGBT advocacy group affiliated with United Way. Rupert-Gordon is also a co-founder of the Social Fiction Conference at University of California, Santa Cruz, which examines identity politics and purported social justice issues in video games, science fiction, and fantasy entertainment. 3

Born Perfect Project

The Born Perfect is an NCLR initiative which aims to make “conversion therapy” for LGBT individuals illegal. NCLR has issued press releases celebrating restrictions placed on psychologists in Utah, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tallahassee which bar attempts by medical professionals to convince patients to “change” their sexual orientation. In April of 2017, the Tampa City Council passed one such set of regulations, which therapist Robert Vazzo challenged in the case Vazzo v. City of Tampa. District Judge William Fung ruled that the regulations were illegal restrictions placed on medical professionals. 4

Amicus Briefs and Litigation

Edmo v. Idaho Department of Corrections

In 2017, NCLR co-represented Adree Edmo, who had admitted to and been convicted of sexually abusing a child, in a suit against the Idaho Department of Corrections to obtain a taxpayer-funded gender reassignment surgery while incarcerated. NCLR claimed that Edmo, while serving a ten-year sentence, was being denied “medically urgent healthcare” by the state. In December of 2018, Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled in favor of Edmo, and on October 13, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a review of the case. Edmo received a government-funded gender reassignment surgery in July of 2020 and is scheduled to be transferred to a women’s prison. 5

Christian Legal Society v. Martinez

In 2004, the University of Hastings in California refused to recognize the local chapter of the Christian Legal Society as a university-affiliated student group, thus denying the organization school funding. The Society required members to sign a statement of faith, which included the statement that marriage could only exist between men and women, and excluded membership to those who refused to sign the statement. The group sued for university recognition, and the NCLR intervened in the case, representing Outlaw, the university’s LGBT student group. The case was eventually heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with the university. 6

Meriwether v. Shawnee State University

In 2018, a transgender Shawnee State University student referred to as Jane Doe filed a Title IX complaint against political philosophy professor Nicholas Meriwether after he refused to use feminine pronouns when referring to Doe in class. The university placed a disciplinary letter into Meriwether’s personnel file, prompting Meriwether to file suit against the university on November 5, 2018 for violating his right to free speech. NCLR intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of Doe and the student-run Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA) group to have the lawsuit dismissed, while also seeking permission to have Doe’s legal name stricken from court documents. The suit was dismissed on February 12, 2020 and is under appeal as of November 2020. 7

Minton v. Dignity Health

In 2017, Evan Minton sued Dignity Health Systems for discrimination when its Mercy San Juan Catholic hospital cancelled a hysterectomy surgery upon learning that the procedure was being performed as a part of Minton’s gender reassignment process. Dignity Health argued that sterilization procedures are against the Catholic Church’s teaching, and that it had rescheduled and performed the procedure three days later at another Dignity Health hospital that was not affiliated with the Catholic Church. Court documents show that Dignity physician Dr. Ivie Dawson had tried to reschedule the procedure for the same day at another hospital but was unable to do so. 8 The lawsuit was initially dismissed, but Minton appealed the decision. NCLR filed a joint amicus brief with other LGBT activists in the appeal, and the court ruled in favor of Minton in September of 2019. 9

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

In March of 2018, the city of Philadelphia notified Catholic Social Services (CSS) that it would no longer receive referrals for children waiting to be placed in foster care because it refused to certify same-sex couples as foster parents. CSS filed suit, seeking an emergency injunction against the city, which failed in the U.S. District Court. In February of 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the lower court decision, and NCLR has filed amicus briefs in defense of the city of Philadelphia in conjunction with the left-of-center Center for the Study of Social Policy. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on November 4, 2020. 10

Trump Administration Conscience Rule

In June of 2019, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood of New England joined several states in filing suit against the Trump administration to block the implementation of its executive order “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care.” The order was designed to allow doctors and health care workers the right to abstain from performing abortions or prescribing abortifacient drugs, the right to abstain from performing gender-reassignment surgery, and the right to abstain from any other treatments which violated their consciences.  The order also allowed health care workers the right to refuse to provide referrals to other practitioners where patients could obtain these services. Under this rule, hospitals and clinics that forced doctors or nurses to participate in such procedures could be deprived of funding from the Health and Human Services Department. National Center for Lesbian Rights sent comments on the order to the Trump administration, and after the administration issued the executive order in May of 2019, NCLR filed a set of amicus briefs to opposing the rule in New York et al v. Department of Health and Human Services. The rule was struck down in November 2019. 11 12


Lawyers Accused of “Misconduct”

A 2024 report by three judges from the federal court districts of Alabama accused lawyers from the NCLR and similar left-of-center organizations of “misconduct” following their involvement in three separate lawsuits to challenge the state’s 2022 Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act meant to eliminate hormonal and surgical procedures on minors. The report accused lawyers of “judge-shopping,” which one of the judges claiming the lawyers were involved in “a particularly pernicious form of forum shopping…a practice that has the propensity to create the appearance of impropriety in the judicial system.” 13 The group of lawyers are also from similar left-of-center organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. 14


  1. Center for the Study of Social Policy. “UpEND.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  2. NCLR. “Common Ground Initiative.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  3. NCLR. “Imani Rupert-Gordon.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  4. NCLR. “Vazzo v. City of Tampa.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  5. Simmons, Timothy. “Idaho Transgender Inmate Becomes 2nd in Country to Receive Gender Confirmation Surgery.” Idaho Press. July 27, 2020. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  6. NCLR. “Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  7. NCLR. “Merriwether v. Shawnee State University.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  8. Superior Court for the State of California. “Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Statutory Damages.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  9. NCLR. “Minton v. Dignity Health.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  10. Ballotpedia. “Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.,_Pennsylvania
  11. NCLR. “Denial of Care Rule.” Website. Undated. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  12. Stempel, Jonathan. “Trump’s Conscience Rule for Healthcare Workers Struck Down by U.S. Judge.”  Reuters. November 6, 2019. Accessed November 3, 2020.
  13. Spakovsky, Hans Von and Sarah Parshall Perry. “Deeds done in the dark: Leftist lawyers caught engaging in attorney misconduct.” Washington Times, April 17, 2024.
  14. Spakovsky, Hans Von and Sarah Parshall Perry. “Deeds done in the dark: Leftist lawyers caught engaging in attorney misconduct.” Washington Times, April 17, 2024.
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1993

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Jun Form 990 $8,859,587 $4,975,957 $7,337,899 $949,113 N $8,762,051 $50,872 $46,211 $1,066,447
    2020 Jun Form 990 $6,232,285 $4,906,758 $3,356,739 $919,047 N $6,098,196 $169,756 $8,899 $939,482 PDF
    2019 Jun Form 990 $5,998,471 $5,866,984 $2,075,352 $906,049 N $5,812,935 $162,044 $5,028 $920,207 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $5,608,460 $5,664,490 $1,489,962 $481,411 N $5,310,016 $293,241 $751 $698,551 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $4,575,413 $4,861,287 $1,498,784 $443,614 N $4,510,153 $261,230 $19,659 $790,919 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $5,664,244 $5,035,685 $1,977,379 $627,600 N $5,024,369 $773,259 $3,972 $748,279 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $2,570,562 $2,902,348 $1,587,010 $870,687 N $2,580,116 $131,148 $4,074 $308,043 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $5,118,941 $5,263,799 $1,891,644 $840,666 N $5,073,033 $92,841 $27,986 $563,442 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $4,099,051 $4,826,086 $1,695,003 $602,362 N $4,165,805 $18,164 $30,355 $729,876 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $4,223,904 $4,031,732 $2,498,744 $316,675 N $3,954,007 $22,883 $6,427 $278,568 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $3,670,551 $3,719,992 $2,262,015 $289,163 N $3,343,507 $61,381 $6,105 $257,096 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)

    870 MARKET ST STE 370
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102-3009