Transgender rights issues are currently a flashpoint in the fight for LGBTQ equality, and progress would not be possible without brilliant legal minds working on the side of justice. Fortunately for us, Chase Strangio of the ACLU is helping to lead the way, one court case at a time. He’s rightfully been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
As the deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, Strangio has taken on a leading role in high-profile court cases regarding trans rights. He was one of the lawyers representing Aimee Stephens, the plaintiff in the first case involving transgender civil rights to be heard in front of the Supreme Court. The Court ruled this year in Stephens’ favor, 6-3, making it illegal to fire somebody in the U.S. for their sexual orientation or gender identity (Gerald Bostock, a gay softball player, was one of two other plaintiffs in the case). Most recently, Strangio has represented Lindsay Hecox, a transgender woman and Boise State sophomore who’s suing to nullify Idaho’s new law that effectively outlaws trans women from playing sports. Last month, a federal judge agreed to place a preliminary injunction against HB500, temporarily halting the law.
As a trans man himself, Strangio has a personal stake in these fights. The trans actor and activist Laverne Cox wrote the essay honoring Strangio, and credits him with shaping her own activism. “Chase has the fortitude to speak with clarity on the messy contradictions and limitations of our legal system, while simultaneously wielding the powers of that system to help the most vulnerable,” she writes. “Now he is being heralded as the lawyer behind the biggest LGBTQ+ legal victory in history. I couldn’t be prouder to call him my friend.”
On Twitter, Strangio thanked everyone for the support, and acknowledged there’s still work to be done. “Thank you @ACLU for giving me the chance to grow and learn these past 8 years,” he wrote. “And check out the replies to this tweet as a reminder of how much work we need to keep doing to build space for trans people to keep existing and transforming as our amazing and magical selves.”
Thank you @ACLU for giving me the chance to grow and learn these past 8 years. And check out the replies to this tweet as a reminder of how much work we need to keep doing to build space for trans people to keep existing and transforming as our amazing and magical selves. https://t.co/7TrijSu4Jx— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) September 23, 2020
USWNT star Megan Rapinoe is also on the list, appropriately under the “Icons” section. Her forward is written by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.