Arielle Wisbaum

  • Hosted by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
  • Sponsored by AIG, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Cornell Law School
  • Issue area LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Arielle will provide holistic advocacy for transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex (TGNCI), and HIV+ immigrant New Yorkers to access health care—including gender-affirming procedures—through direct legal services, community partnerships, and legislative advocacy.

There are an estimated 15,000 to 50,000 transgender undocumented adults in the U.S. Due to their double marginalization of citizenship status and gender identity, undocumented TGNCI individuals face particular vulnerabilities: 1 in 4 transgender individuals report experiencing discrimination in health care, and 1 in 3 report verbal harassment or refusal of treatment. Such disparities in care are compounded when an individual is undocumented. If detained, TGNCI individuals are subject to conditions that lead to rapid deterioration in their physical and mental health, such as solitary confinement, inconsistent administration of HIV medication, and denial of hormones. Members of the community have expressed a dire need for detention release advocacy, immigration representation, and access to life-affirming health care.

Fellowship Plans

This project aims to serve pressing medical needs through taking a holistic approach to advocacy for healthcare, considering how immigration status, profiling, harassment—and associated risks of criminalization and detention—create significant barriers to accessing care. Arielle will provide direct legal services to TGNCI and HIV+ immigrant New Yorkers via filing for viable relief, including asylum, U and T-visas, and family-based applications. Once immigration applications are pending, Arielle will connect individuals to life-affirming and life-saving health care. In her project, Arielle will also collaborate with community-based organizations to obtain bond for TGNCI and HIV+ immigrants who are not receiving adequate care in detention and to participate in preventative legislative advocacy to reduce the criminalization of this community.

While working at the border and in immigrant detention centers outside of New York City, I saw firsthand how manageable illnesses can turn fatal in immigrant detention—especially for LGBTQ and HIV+ folks.

Arielle Wisbaum /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Arielle

View All

Steffi Romano

Host: UnLocal, Inc

Sponsor: The Paul Rapoport Foundation

Catherine Sakimura

Host: National Center for Lesbian Rights

Sponsor: Anonymous

Photo of Rafael Varela

Rafael Varela

Host: Community & Economic Development Clinic at CUNY School of Law

Sponsor: The Paul Rapoport Foundation

Current Fellow

Gabriella Larios

Host: New York Civil Liberties Union

Sponsor: Anonymous

Current Fellow