A high-level civil rights lawyer at the Department of Justice is leaving the Trump administration to join a top legal group fighting for LGBT rights.
Diana Flynn has served as head of the Civil Rights Division Appellate Section since President Reagan’s administration and had planned to remain in the job until her retirement, she told BuzzFeed News.
However, Flynn — a transgender woman — said that she will now join Lambda Legal, a top LGBT legal rights organization, as the group’s litigation director.
“But it appears to me — at this crucial time for LGBT rights — to make the arguments I want to make and take positions I want to take, I would be much better situated at Lambda Legal than I am at Justice,” she told BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed noted that it’s atypical for high-ranking career staffers to leave a position they had initially planned to keep until retirement.
The departure is particularly notable due to Lambda Legal’s fights against the Trump administration. The group sued the administration over Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military — meaning that Flynn could be facing off with former department colleagues in court.
Flynn told BuzzFeed that she had noticed the Justice Department taking steps to roll back civil rights.
“I see a danger to some of the principles that have been established in the civil rights arena generally. I see attempts to roll back specifically LGBT rights in the courts and society, and I want to be in the position where I can aggressively resist that and make the arguments that I think will be most effective,” she said.
The Justice Department has changed its stance on some LGBT issues under Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE, including stating that transgender workers are not protected by an anti-sex discrimination law included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.