Mariah Lopez has been suing New York City for transgender rights since she was a child. In 1999, at age 13, she was the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit charging that gay and lesbian children in foster care were subject to routine violence and psychological abuse.
At 17, she won the right to wear skirts and dresses in an all-male group home. At 20, she sued to force the city to pay for her gender affirmation surgery; though she ultimately lost, the city soon began covering such operations.
Ms. Lopez’s most recently resolved case against the city resulted in a sweeping settlement for transgender New Yorkers who are homeless, and who have long complained of harassment, discrimination, and sexual and physical violence in city homeless shelters.
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