NLCR - PersevereThe National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is turning 40, and reminds us that although their scope has broadened, they began with the goal of helping lesbian and bisexual mothers who came out and were at risk of losing their children.

In a piece for the San Francisco Bay TimesCatherine Sakimura, NCLR’s family law director, writes:

NCLR quickly expanded its work to focus on all LGBT parents and the full range of issues affecting LGBT people and their families, but throughout the last four decades, family law has remained a core part of NCLR’s work.

In the 1980s, NCLR helped to pioneer second parent adoptions to protect the families of unmarried same-sex parents. In the 1990s, NCLR litigated cases across the country urging courts to protect non-biological parents, permitting them to seek custody or visitation. And in the early 2000s, NCLR began a nationwide campaign to win full parental rights for non-biological LGBT parents and, in particular, to protect the rights of transgender parents, who still often lose custody of their children.

Go read the rest of her piece to learn more about some of their current cases helping to protect and strengthen LGBTQ-headed families, LGBTQ youth, and others. After that, read what NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell and early leaders Donna Hitchens, Nancy Davis, and Roberta Achtenberg have to say about the organization’s past, present, and future.

And if you want even more about how NCLR was formed and about queer families in the 1970s, check out the documentary Mom’s Apple Pie: The Heart of the Lesbian Mothers’ Custody Movement, which I wrote about a few years back. You can stream it for $5 on Vimeo.

A very happy birthday to NCLR and a big thank you for all the work they’ve done for our families over the last 40 years.