Federal Organizations & Resources

This page contains links to federal/legal resources and organizations that focus on issues of sexuality and gender, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and ally issues. Please contact the LGBT Resource Center (lgbtrc@cornell.edu) if you have suggestions for additions to this resource listing.

US Department of Justice
The mission of the U.S. Department of Justice is to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. The Civil Rights Division is committed to the full enforcement of our nation’s civil rights laws to combat discrimination in all its forms – including discrimination against LGBT individuals. The Division defends the rights of LGBT Americans by ensuring nondiscrimination in employment, education, housing, lending, and credit, and by prosecuting hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law. This document discusses some of the highlights of this work.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.  Recent events, including the filing of two EEOC lawsuits on behalf of transgender employees and an amicus brief in the 7th Circuit related to coverage of sexual orientation, have triggered increased interest about protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals under federal employment-discrimination laws. The information below highlights what you should know about the EEOC's enforcement efforts in this area.

Health and Human Services (HHS)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the U.S. government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.  HHS is responsible for almost a quarter of all federal outlays and administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined.  HHS works to improve the health and well-being of all Americans, including those who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT). This includes ensuring that LGBT Americans, families, and communities receive equal access to health services; providing enhanced resources for LGBT health issues; developing better information regarding LGBT health needs; and working to close the LGBT health disparities gap that currently exists.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Resources on the LGBT population include national survey reports, agency and federal initiatives, and related behavioral health resources.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care by strengthening the health care workforce, building healthy communities and achieving health equity. HRSA’s programs provide health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.  HRSA helps community health centers improve the health of LGBT populations. Supported through a cooperative agreement with The Fenway Institute, the Center consults with health centers and is developing curricula focused on caring for LGBT people. Fenway Health is a HRSA-supported health center and one of the largest health centers focused on LGBT health.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) is one of the eight Offices of Minority Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It was established as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). CMS OMH works to eliminate health disparities and improve the health of all minority populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, members of the LGBT community, and rural populations. CMS OMH collaborates with local and other federal partners to offer a comprehensive source of information on improving minority health and eliminating health disparities.

Social Security Administration
Encourage college students age 18 and older and faculty to register for My Social Security and view your annual Social Security Statement to make sure you have received credit for the work you’ve done.  Check your Statement at least once a year.  Information about Social Security benefits for legally married same-sex couples is available online at http://www.ssa.gov/people/same-sexcouples/.