Chinyere Ezie (Cheen-Yer-Ray Ay-Zee-Ay) is a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer and social justice activist who specializes in constitutional litigation and anti-discrimination work. In 2016, Chinyere was named one of the country's Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.
As a Staff Attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center (“SPLC”) LGBT Rights Project, Chinyere served as lead counsel for Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman who sued Georgia for its refusal to provide transgender inmates medical care or protect them from sexual assault. As a result of Chinyere's sustained advocacy, the U.S Department of Justice affirmed that transgender prisoners have a constitutional right to gender dysphoria treatment and commenced an investigation into the treatment of LGBT prisoners across the state; Georgia revised its policies on transgender healthcare and safety and committed to retraining its staff; and Georgia released Ms. Diamond from custody eight years early and paid out a significant monetary settlement.
Chinyere has considerable expertise with respect to constitutional litigation and federal civil rights advocacy, including in the areas of education and employment. She has advocated against bills and ordinances that would subject LGBT persons to disparate treatment; served as counsel for LGBT persons discriminated against in the workplace, including Tristan Broussard, a Louisiana man whose wrongful termination lawsuit attracted the support of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Jessi Dye, a transgender woman from Alabama who obtained a favorable settlement after being terminated from her nursing home job; and assisted with same-sex marriage litigation.
Chinyere clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and worked as an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen, and Hamilton LLP in New York City.
Chinyere is a William J. Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, where she served as President of Columbia Outlaws and Editor in Chief of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.
In her free time, Chinyere enjoys photography, graphic design, and spending time with her wife and puppy.