Transnational Legal Initiative

Dr. Jorge Contesse, Assistant Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School and faculty affiliate of CGSLP, is the principal investigator in the Transnational Legal Initiative (TLI), a collaborative effort with CGSLP. The program, funded by a Rutgers University-Newark Chancellor’s seed grant, aims to engage in some of the questions and challenges raised by the legal and political struggle for the recognition of LGBTI rights. As Contesse notes, “International human rights norms prescribe that States have an obligation to change social and cultural patterns that result in discrimination against women and LGBTI individuals. Such prescriptions may encounter resistance from States and communities that hold different views on gender and sexuality. We therefore need to reflect on such interactions and prepare our students to engage and address the challenges that sexual rights in general face.” TLI hosts international scholars and advocates in the field of LGBTI rights who are featured in the CGSLP lunchtime lecture series.

TLI also funds summer internship for Rutgers Law students who are interested in LGBTI and human rights.

Summer Internships

The Transnational Legal Initiative funds summer internships at two Latin American non-governmental organizations working on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity—Colombia Diversa and Fundación Iguales. Starting in the 2019, TLI will also fund one internship with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, one of the main human rights bodies in the Americas which has jurisdiction over thirty-five States.

TLI will provide students with stipends of up to $5,000 to cover transportation, housing, and living expenses. TLI stipends are not to be considered as compensation.

Students will spend up to 6 weeks in Bogotá (Colombia Diversa), Santiago (Fundación Iguales) or Washington, DC (Inter-American Commission), working on strategies to advance LGBTI rights both at the domestic and international level.

Applicants must agree to work full-time at one of the two NGOs for at least 4 weeks. For the Inter-American Commission’s internship, applicants must agree to work during the whole summer. Upon return, summer interns must submit a three- to five-page report on the experience.

To apply, students must submit the following materials:

1) Resume;
2) Statement of interest detailing the relevance of the internship to past experience and professional goals;
3) One letter of recommendation from a faculty member; and
4) Current unofficial law school transcript (or equivalent transcript).

Materials must be submitted as one PDF document to by January 31, 2019. Please be sure to use “TLI Summer Internship” in the subject line of your email. All Rutgers Law students are eligible (3Ls must specify Bar Exam plans).

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Jorge Contesse at