Our work has influenced law and policy all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, the Court cited a brief Whitman-Walker submitted along with Lambda Legal and a coalition of medical providers and public health authorities in Bragdon v. Abbott, the 1998 Supreme Court case holding that asymptomatic HIV infection is a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Our legal and policy experts advocated for many years against the HIV ban in U.S. immigration law, resulting in the repeal of that ban at the beginning of 2010, and have successfully advanced laws and policies prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in health care and health insurance at every level of government. We also have been involved in advocacy to expand legal protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under federal sex law for many years. The ideas we advanced, along with other LGBTQ legal advocates, finally bore fruit in victories such as the Supreme Court’s landmark 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the court ruled that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are forms of sex discrimination that are prohibited by law.
Whitman-Walker Institute is also a national leader in science, policy, and practice related to the collection of data on sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status. We participated in a landmark consensus study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that developed standards for the collection of these data by the National Institutes of Health, and we regularly provide technical assistance to the federal agencies, Congress, and public and private partners across the health care landscape on how to collect and use these data to better serve LGBTQ people and their families.