Sylvia Rivera Law Project

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The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) is a legal aid organization based in New York City at the Miss Major-Jay Toole Building for Social Justice that serves low-income or people of color who are transgender, intersex and/or gender non-conforming. The organization was formed in August 2002 by attorney and transgender civil rights activist, Dean Spade. The project was named for Sylvia Rivera, a transgender activist and veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, who died the same year that SRLP was formed.[1]


In February 2002, Spade was followed into the bathroom by a police officer. The officer questioned his gender and arrested him. The court assigned attorney asked personal, invasive questions during the first meeting, which made Spade fear what the trial would hold. The charges against him were thrown out, but he was left with mixed feelings. He was upset by the transphobia that caused this to happen, but felt optimistic about what things the media coverage may bring. Months later, he formed the Sylvia Rivera Law Project to help others who were in discriminatory situations like he was in.[2]


The project has released this mission statement:

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. SRLP is a collective organization founded on the understanding that gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial, social and economic justice. Therefore, we seek to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. SRLP works to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities. We believe that in order to create meaningful political participation and leadership, we must have access to basic means of survival and safety from violence.

The goals of the organization are to provide access to legal services for low-income transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people, provide public education and policy reform to end state-sanctioned discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. The organization also aims to build a collective organization that develops the leadership of low-income transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people of color while participating in the larger movement for racial, social, and economic justice.[3]

Areas of work[edit]

SRLP's organizers, lawyers and grassroots activists work on a variety of issues, including prison abolition, reform of gender-segregated facilities,[4] and identity documents.[5] name changes, health care advocacy, ID replacement, criminal history, prisoner rights, access to gender affirming garmets and hormones in prison, immigration relief such as asylum or U/T Visas, naturalization, and other legal and social services.[6]

Core Values/Vision[edit]

SRLP members acknowledge that the system is the problem with regards to discrimination towards gender. Oppressed individuals must fight for their equality by sticking together, working towards this common goal of justice. This can only be done by themselves as the system has proved to be an unreliable source in maintaining equal rights for all individuals, regardless of race or gender. With this in mind, members work with all oppressed communities in obtaining the shared goal of equality. Members believe that this work will further equality for our community as a whole versus for simply one oppressed group. SRLP maintains an equalized work environment that does not place members in a system of hierarchy. [7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Who was Sylvia Rivera? | SRLP (Sylvia Rivera Law Project)". SRLP. 2002-02-26. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  2. ^ Shepard, Benjamin (January 2013). "From Community Organization to Direct Services: The Street Trans Action Revolutionaries to Sylvia Rivera Law Project". Journal of Social Service Research. 39 (1): 95–114. doi:10.1080/01488376.2012.727669. ISSN 0148-8376. 
  3. ^ "About | SRLP (Sylvia Rivera Law Project)". SRLP. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  4. ^ von Zielbauer, Paul (30 December 2005), "New York Set to Close Jail Unit for Gays", New York Times, retrieved 2008-11-13 
  5. ^ Dotinga, Randy (29 November 2006), "Sex Change, No Surgery Required", Wired, retrieved 2008-11-13 
  6. ^ SRLP Legal Services, retrieved 2016-10-21 
  7. ^ "Our Approach and Principles | SRLP (Sylvia Rivera Law Project)". Retrieved 2015-10-26. 

External links[edit]