Lambda Legal Transgender Rights Attorney Cole Thaler spends much of his waking hours litigating precedent-setting cases or working as an educator or activist. He’s just been honored for this work by the Southern Voice, which named him one of Atlanta’s top 20 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders.
From the Southern Voice:
Cole Thaler, 30
Lambda Legal transgender attorney
Emerging from law books and a female identity into which he knew he did not fit, Cole Thaler chose to use his expertise and his experience to protect and expand the rights of transgender men and women.
“I came out and started my transition during law school, and that is what really led me to become interested in advancing the rights of the transgender community,” he says.
In 2005, a new job with Lambda Legal moved Thaler to Atlanta, and into the forefront of the movement for transgender equality as the national gay civil rights organization’s first full-time transgender attorney and advocate.
“It was really with the creation of my job position that the organization took a great leap toward its work on behalf of the transgender community. I’m based in Atlanta, but the cases and projects that I work on are national in scope,” he says.
Thaler, who is gay, spends much of his working life on the road, educating others about trans issues in conference rooms, and defending the rights of his clients in courtrooms.
He retains an optimism that his work will bring transgender issues out of the closet.
“I’m very hopeful that we’re going to see federal employment protections passed for the gay and lesbian and transgender communities in the next few years,” he says.