All Hands on Deck: Nicholas Hite is Serving LGBTQ+ Youth and Families in Louisiana

At a time of increased attacks against LGBTQ+ youth and families, especially in the South, Louisiana’s leading LGBTQ+ legal expert, Nicholas Hite’s tireless efforts to support families as they face legal barriers to healthcare, secure legally recognized parent-child relationships, and seek to protect the safety and well-being of their trans children is more important than ever. 

Everybody is deserving

1 in 3 LGBTQ+ people live in the South. Yet, for many, accessing quality LGBTQ+ competent legal care can feel nearly impossible. Enter: Nicholas Hite, Louisiana’s leading LGBTQ+ legal expert and the founder and principal of the Hite Law Group. 

As the only queer-founded, queer-run, queer-focused law firm in the entire state of Louisiana, Nicholas and his team are working tirelessly to ensure that every Louisianan has the opportunity to find, form, sustain, and protect their families. 

“Providing services that are accessible is a very basic way to eliminate a very real barrier to some fundamental protections and rights that queer folks deserve,” says Nicholas. “And I’ve been doing it for ten years now.” 

A great responsibility

In the decade that the Hite Law Group has been practicing, they’ve served over 1,000 clients in every judicial district in the state. The immense responsibility of this work providing leading-edge legal services for LGBTQ+ clients is not lost on Nicholas.

“For every great story, there are at least a dozen really, really hard ones,” he says. In one case, the law as written in Louisiana stripped his client of the opportunity to be in her child’s life. 

“The sound that came out of her in that courtroom when she realized that she was never going to see that child again…” recalls Nicholas, “I never want to be in a room where that happens to someone again.” 

All hands on deck

Born and raised in Louisiana, Nicholas has always been inspired by how the LGBTQ+ community in the South looks after itself. But, with unprecedented legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ youth and families centered mainly in the southern states, he knows we will need “all hands on deck” to change the tide. 

“Folks are worried if it means they’re going to need to leave,” he says. “[They’re] worried if it means they’re going to start having to hide who they are. I’m a lawyer, so I stick to the facts. The fact of the matter is…At this point, for folks in the trans community in the South, this is life or death. My inclination in this moment is to stay in our home and fight for it—whatever that may look like.”

This fight isn’t easy — but it is necessary. “For me, regardless of what the law says, I am always going to be there to support my clients, to support my community.” 

To recognize Nicholas’ extraordinary dedication to serving LGBTQ+ youth and families in the South as they navigate challenging legal hurdles, Family Equality honored him with the Hostetter-Habib Family Award on May 15, 2023 at Night at the Pier in New York City. 

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Dedicated to telling the stories of everyday LGBTQ families, the Ric Swezey Memorial Fund made this film possible. Make a donation to support our storytelling work here.

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