For transgender parents, the joys of raising children come with unique challenges. The legal issues that transgender parent face touch every aspect of the parent-child relationship, from partaking in the decisions that affect a child’s daily life to ensuring that the child is provided for if the parent can no longer care for them. Since the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ inception in 1977, it has been at the cutting-edge of legal issues affecting transgender parents, advocating that courts extend transgender parents the same level of protection offered to all other parents and their children.
In 2002, NCLR began representing Michael Kantaras, a transgender father who wanted to remain a part of his children’s lives. When Michael and his ex-wife divorced, she contested the validity of their 10-year marriage, and claimed that he was not the legal parent of their two children. After a three-week, nationally televised trial, Circuit Court Judge Gerard O’Brien issued a groundbreaking decision holding that Michael was legally male, affirming the validity of the marriage, and awarding Michael primary custody of the couple’s children.
In addition to representing parents like Michael in a wide range of family law matters, NCLR has filed amicus briefs in courts throughout the United States in support of transgender parents fighting to protect their legal rights as a parent and provided countless hours of technical assistance to the attorneys representing them.