Reagan-era Justice Department lawyer leaves Trump administration to fight Sessions' LGBT attacks
Outgoing DOJ lawyer Diana Flynn. Image via screengrab.

After a decades-long career in the Justice Department's civil rights division, attorney Diana Flynn is leaving the DOJ to work for LGBT rights advocacy group Lambda Legal.

BuzzFeed News reported Wednesday that Flynn's decision to leave the department she's worked for since the Reagan administration came as a surprise — especially to her.

"I never really expected to leave," Flynn, who is a transgender woman, told BuzzFeed. "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."

The report noted that although DOJ turnover is not unusual, Flynn's departure to work for an organization that may put her at odds with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' anti-LGBT policies is unusual.

Though she did not comment specifically on Sessions or the Trump administration's policies, she appeared to reference them when discussing the importance of keeping LGBT anti-discrimination laws intact.

"I see a danger to some of the principles that have been established in the civil rights arena generally,” Flynn told BuzzFeed. “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."

"If I find myself on the opposite side of the courtroom from someone I had worked with, it would be something different,” she continued. “It would be strange, but it’s something we could deal with."

Vanita Gupta, who led the DOJ's civil rights division under President Barack Obama, said she's not surprised the Trump administration is losing a career civil servant who fought for LGBT rights like Flynn.

"With this administration devolving further into chaos,” Gupta told BuzzFeed, “it comes as no surprise that the administration continues to lose incredibly talented attorneys like Diana."

Lambda Legal, whose staff Flynn will join in May, is currently fighting the Trump administration's transgender military ban in court.