Leading Youth Advocacy Attorney Joins NCLR

Carolyn Reyes Joins Team Working on Efforts to End Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (November 4, 2015)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has announced that leading youth advocacy attorney Carolyn Reyes is joining the staff as Youth Policy Counsel. In this newly created position, Reyes will work on NCLR’s #BornPerfect campaign to end conversion therapy on LGBT youth, as well as other youth-related projects.  

Reyes is a national expert on issues related to LGBT youth in out-of-home care. She has spent more than two decades working on behalf of children, youth, and families in various capacities, including as a child welfare worker, children’s attorney, children and family therapist, and school counselor. Prior to joining NCLR, she served as Director of getREAL California, a collaboration between NCLR, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and Family Builders aimed at integrating sexual orientation and gender identity/expression-informed policy and practice into California’s child welfare system.

“Carolyn is one of the most accomplished and well-respected youth advocates in the country,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “Her work on behalf of LGBT youth has been groundbreaking and life changing, and we are thrilled that she has joined our team working to ensure that LGBT young people are fully supported and treated with equal dignity and respect.” 

“I am thrilled to be joining the amazing team at NCLR to protect and empower some of the most vulnerable youth in our country. I have spent my entire legal career collaborating with NCLR to reform public systems of care to be more affirming of and equitable towards LGBT youth,” said Reyes. “This is the logical next step in my career and I am exceedingly grateful to be taking it!”

NCLR started its Youth Project more than two decades ago to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBT youth at home, in school, and in public systems of care through litigation, policy advocacy, and systemic reform. The project prioritizes full integration and affirmation of transgender youth, fair and equal treatment of LGBT youth in out-of-home care, and increasing family acceptance of LGBT youth to keep them out of state care.     

Last year, NCLR launched its #BornPerfect™ campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. 

NCLR has been at the forefront of the fight to end conversion therapy, and works closely with legislators and state leaders across the country to introduce bills protecting youth from these dangerous practices, which are associated with extreme depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. Five jurisdictions—California, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Oregon, and Illinois—now protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy at the hands of licensed mental health professionals, with leaders from several other states planning introduction of similar legislation in the 2016 legislative session.

Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.