Sylvia Rivera Law Project



New York, NY

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $1,680,719
Expenses: $854,719
Assets: $1,759,385


Left-of-center activism and legal aid group



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Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) is a left-of-center activist and legal-aid organization based in New York City. The organization works to provide legal aid to transgender individuals regarding issues such as legal name changes, the immigration process, and rights while incarcerated. The organization also works to familiarize government agencies with contemporary social-liberal gender ideology.

Founding and History

In 2002, trans activist Dean Spade was arrested for using a male restroom. Spade expressed concern with the quality of his court-appointed legal counsel and feelings of fear and uncertainty prior to the trial. After the charges were dropped, Spade began the Sylvia Rivera Law Project to promote trans issues and provide legal services to trans people in need. 1 2

In keeping with its revolutionary principles, SRLP is organized as a collective, of which more than 50 percent of the staff and board are people of color and at least 50 percent are transgender. 3

SRLP is named after Sylvia Rivera, a transgender activist who participated in the Stonewall Riot. SRLP states that it is continuing her work through its focus on poverty, racism, and trans-discrimination issues. 4

Financial Information

In fiscal year 2018, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project had $118,237 in revenue of which $947,578 was derived from contributions and grants and $134,774 was derived from program service revenue. SRLP had $891,545 in expenses, of which employee salary and benefits made up $593,018. At the end of the fiscal year 2018 SRLP reported $1,951,743 in assets. 5

Organizational Principles

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project is firmly based in the principles of critical theory. The organization is non-hierarchical and states that it fights for “gender liberation” and the to overthrow the “systems of oppression” by training and uniting “all oppressed people” to “end all forms of oppression”. SRLP states that it is not enough to reform the system, but that the system is actually the problem. 6

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project divides its legal assistance into three projects.

Survival and Self Determination Project

SRLP’s Survival and Self Determination Project is focused on assisting low-income trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGNCI) people navigate the New York City bureaucracy to gain access to benefits and services. These services include assistance with legal name changes, updating ID card gender, acquiring government and non-government assistance, and help navigating trans-related healthcare access. SRLP staff will also accompany trans people to government offices or agencies. The project provides training to law firms and government agencies and hospitals to be more trans-affirming. 7

Immigrant Justice Project

SRLP’s Immigrant Justice Project works to assist TGNCI immigrants by representing them in their immigration applications, adjustment of immigrant status, and securing gender-affirming documents, such as green cards. The project also works to increase the public benefits that immigrants can receive. 8

Prisoner Justice Project

SRLP’s Prisoner Justice Project is focused on assisting trans people who are incarcerated in New York City jails or federal prisons in New York state. This assistance includes things such as legal name changes, obtaining hormone therapy, and requests for alternative prison housing. The project also runs the Prisoner Advisory Committee, which is comprised of currently incarcerated TGNCI people that advises the project and informs its work. 9 The project has provided official comments to the New York City Board of Corrections on various issues such as visitation rights, solitary confinement, and the danger of prison violence and sexual assault against TGNCI individuals. 10 11


Rodriguez v. Johnson et al.

In 2006, in conjunction with Lambda Legal, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project settled in the case of Rodriguez v. Johnson et al. in which a transgendered woman, Alyssa Rodriguez, had been denied hormones and punished for her gender expression at New York juvenile facilities. With the settlement, Alyssa Rodriguez was awarded $25,000 and the Office of Children and Family Services agreed to work with SRLP over a period of five years to reform the way the office handles the cases of transgender individuals. 12

Cruz v. Zucker

In 2016 SRLP was victorious in the case Cruz v. Zucker that resulted in a ruling that declared that trans-specific healthcare coverage is required by law for those New Yorkers eligible for Medicaid, regardless of their age. 13


The Sylvia Rivera Law Project provides a variety of trainings. These include trainings for service providers on the basics of gender identity ideology, as well as trainings for government agencies on the process of legal name changes and ID card modifications. SRLP also provides know-your-rights trainings to trans people on subjects such as police interactions, healthcare, immigration, and incarceration. 14


  1. Shepard, Benjamin. “From Community Organization to Direct Services: The Street Trans Action Revolutionaries to Sylvia Rivera Law Project.” Journal of Social Service Research, 2013. Accessed February 21, 2021.
  2. “SRLP History.” Accessed February 21, 2021.
  3. “SRLP History.” Accessed February 21, 2021.
  4. “Who Was Sylvia Rivera?” Accessed February 21, 2021.
  5. Sylvia Rivera Law Project, IRS (From 990), 2018, Part I
  6. “Our Approach and Principles.” Accessed February 22, 2021.
  7. “About Legal Services.” Accessed February 22, 2021.
  8. “Immigrant Justice Project.” Accessed February 22, 2021.
  9. “Prisoner Justice Project.” Accessed February 22, 2021.
  10. Kinkead, Mik. “Submission of Comments and Recommendations in Response to the Proposed Rulemaking Addressing Visitation, Packages, and Solitary.”, October 16, 2015. Accessed February 22, 2021.
  11. Kinkead, Mik. “The New York City Board of Correction Public Hearing on Proposed Rule to Amend the Minimum Standards to Detect, Prevent and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Harassment of Persons Incarcerated in the New York City Jails and Other Facilities Operated by the New York City Department of Correction.”, July 26, 2016.Accessed February 22, 2021.
  12. “Lambda Legal and Sylvia Rivera Law Project Settle Lawsuit on Behalf of Transgender Youth Denied Appropriate Care in State Custody.”, December 6, 2006.
  13. “Landmark Victory Achieved in Cruz v. Zucker.”, October 31, 2016. Accessed February 22, 2021.
  14. “Trainings and Speaking Engagements.” Accessed February 22, 2021.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2004

  • 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
    2017 Jun Form 990 $1,680,719 $854,719 $1,759,385 $34,334 N $1,366,916 $329,873 $906 $488,559 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $616,843 $749,449 $920,075 $21,024 N $475,625 $123,154 $517 $433,464 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $804,903 $667,706 $1,047,750 $16,093 N $650,285 $142,576 $801 $355,120 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $795,077 $601,352 $920,361 $25,901 N $706,482 $95,666 $935 $346,441 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $466,647 $554,299 $719,569 $18,834 N $477,492 $7,870 $1,222 $310,599 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $609,717 $584,734 $813,666 $25,279 N $616,570 $4,505 $1,529 $326,181 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $404,877 $548,801 $827,608 $64,204 N $391,636 $5,117 $2,176 $309,940 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Sylvia Rivera Law Project

    147 W 24TH STREET 5TH FL
    New York, NY 10011-1911