From harassment and hate crimes to entering into or dissolving domestic partnerships, Nevada’s gay lesbian and transgender communities face unique legal challenges that require experienced, proactive and compassionate attorneys to help.
Below, our Las Vegas LGBT lawyers provide a brief overview of how we protect and fight for the legal rights of our gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer clientele in Nevada. Click on a topic to go directly to that section.
- 1. Discrimination victims: Such as prejudice, harassment, and bullying.
- 2. Personal Injury casualties: Such as from hate crimes, coercion, and sexual assault.
- 3. Family Law issues: Such as marriage, domestic partnerships, name changes, and child custody.
- 4. Immigration law: Such as asylum, humanitarian parole and spousal visas.
- 5. Criminal defense: Such as for people accused of domestic violence, solicitation, and indecent exposure.
1. Gay, Lesbian and Transgender victims of Discrimination
LGBT people routinely face discrimination at work, school, and even at home. The law entitles everyone to access to employment, education, and housing in an environment free of
- harassment, and
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, businesses that employ 15 or more people are not allowed to
- disqualify you,
- fire you, or
- otherwise discriminate against you as an employee or job applicant because of your sex (unless gender is crucial to the job).
Even though Title VII does not explicitly protect sexual orientation or gender identity, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) believes that gender discrimination comprises sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Therefore, if you have been unfairly discriminated against in the workplace, you may be able to file a complaint with the EEOC.1
Any school that receives federal funding (which includes many Las Vegas private schools) may not discriminate against a student based on gender. Although Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 does not mention sexual orientation or gender identity, trans and gay discrimination victims can and do bring lawsuits against schools for not preventing or addressing
- harassment, and
The Nevada Equal Rights Commission explicitly prohibits home sellers and landlords from discriminating against buyers and tenants based on gender identity or sexual orientation. As a discrimination victim, you can file a complaint and possibly sue on other grounds.
2. Gay and Transgender victims of accidents and crimes
Homosexual and transgender people are at an elevated risk of harassment, assault, rape, and other hate crimes. Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys assist in filing lawsuits against all the responsible parties in an effort to recover the largest money damages possible in your cases, including
Being a crime victim takes a huge emotional toll, and sometimes it is hard to know where to turn or what your rights are. As a starting point, you can always call The Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada for resources. If you are upstate, you can call the Trauma Intervention Program of Northern Nevada. Other resources include:
Harassment takes many forms, including
- phone calls, and
You may be able to sue not only the harasser but anyone who knew of the harassment and failed in their duties to stop it, such as a school or employer or even internet provider.
2.2. Assault and Sexual Assault
As an assault or rape victim, you should always file a police report in an effort to get your attackers behind bars, but you can also sue in civil court for money damages.
It may be possible to recover not only from the assaulter or rapist but also from any parties who aided and abetted or “cheered on” the crime. In some cases, a court may find that security guards or even the police are liable for neglecting their legal duties to keep the premises safe.
2.3. Hate Crimes
Any criminal offense–not just harassment or assault–qualifies as a hate crime in Nevada if it is committed because of your perceived gender identity or sexual orientation. In addition to filing a police report, you are encouraged to seek legal counsel in order to sue the perpetrators as well as any accessories to the crime or other responsible parties.2
3. LGBT family law issues in Nevada
Opposite-sex married couples with children no longer comprise the majority of American families. As an LGBT person, you can now marry whom you love and become parents the same as heterosexual couples. Contact our Las Vegas family law attorneys for help in navigating this new legal landscape.
Gay and lesbian marriage is now legal throughout the United States, including Nevada. Your rights and obligations are much different than if you and your partner are merely cohabitants. Learn more about same-sex marriage laws and prenuptial agreements in Nevada.3
3.2. Domestic partnerships
Even though same-sex marriage is now legal, Nevada still recognizes the rights of both homosexual and heterosexual couples to enter into domestic partnerships, which are very similar to marriage. Learn more about domestic partnership laws.
Note that Nevada does not recognize “civil unions” for same- or opposite-sex couples.
3.3. Legal name changes
If you are getting married, divorced, changing genders, or merely pursuing a fresh identity, you may want to change your first and/or last names. Learn about changing legal names in Nevada.
Although gay marriage is legal, judges may still hold primeval views regarding the fitness of gay parents in divorce, adoption, and surrogacy proceedings. Learn about adoption, child custody and surrogacy laws in Nevada.
4. Gay and Transgender Immigration Issues
In much of the world, being gay or transgender is grounds for imprisonment, torture, and capital punishment. Coming to America can make the difference between life and death. Contact our Las Vegas immigration attorneys for help.
If you are a gay or trans foreigner who makes it to America, you may be able to stay indefinitely if you can show it is too dangerous to live in your home countries. Learn more about asylum laws.
4.2. Humanitarian parole
Any foreigner who is facing a compelling emergency abroad may be able to travel temporarily to the U.S. for safety. Learn more about humanitarian parole laws.
4.3 Spousal visas
If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to immigrate your foreigner spouse to America permanently. Learn more about how to get a spousal visa.
5. LGBT people accused of crimes in Nevada
Nevada courts are glutted with cases where good people are wrongfully accused of crimes in Nevada. Contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for help.
5.1. Domestic Violence
Many straight and gay couples fall prey to arguments that culminate with
- innocent accidents,
- legal acts of self-defense, or
- of one person falsely accusing the other of hitting them.
Domestic abuse penalties can be extremely harsh, so you should never attempt to fight these charges without a lawyer. Learn more about battery domestic violence.
Las Vegas Metro Police routinely go undercover in bars and clubs to pretend to solicit prostitution from unsuspecting johns. These charges could be detrimental to your employment prospects, but an attorney may be able to get the charge reduced or dismissed.
Learn more about solicitation of prostitution.
5.3. Indecent Exposure
Many arrests for allegedly exposing one’s privates occur at Las Vegas’s infamous swim parties and clubs. Often surveillance video can prove the cops wrong or else show there is insufficient evidence to support a conviction.