Name Change Project Featured in the NY Times

Today's print edition of the New York Times features a tremendous article on TLDEF's Name Change Project.  It's tremendous not just in that it features lengthy interviews with four Name Change Project participants – Em, Katherine, Kit & Roberta.  It's that the article makes clear that the movement for transgender rights is experiencing tremendous growth.  And that it recognizes that a project like ours - providing free and low-cost legal name changes to community members in partnership with some of the world's most prestigious law firms - "sends an important message to the world" that "the relatively new field of transgender law" is making its mark and is here to stay.

Adding to its historic status as a capital of finance, fashion, and the arts, we couldn't be more pleased that with our "rare network of some 200 lawyers," we've "contributed to Manhattan's becoming a capital of" name changes for transgender people.  And we couldn't be more grateful to the hundreds of community members who, over the course of the two-and-a-half years since we founded the Name Change Project, have entrusted us to provide them with the help they need to ensure their legal identities match who they are and how they live their lives. 

We founded the Name Change Project with the simple idea that giving transgender people adequate legal representation when they seek name changes would help them successfully negotiate the process and move forward with their lives.  As project participant Kit Yan described it in the article, the name change process can be intimidating.  Indeed, Kit described how he failed twice when he tried on his own to get the law to recognize his name before turning to the Name Change Project for help.  We play just a small part in the much larger journey that project participants embark upon, but we're grateful for the opportunity to do our part for each of the hundreds of people who come to us for help.

Many people have helped make the Name Change Project a success.  It is no overstatement to say that this program would not exist without the extraordinary support of the hundreds of volunteer lawyers and law firms in the New York legal community who have partnered with us.  They have devoted thousands of hours to transgender community members through their work with the Name Change Project.  We are grateful to them for their generosity.  Foundations like the Paul Rapoport Foundation and the Rubin Family Foundation placed early bets that we would succeed.  Our Name Change Project Coordinator, Barbara Shulman, makes the task of matching hundreds of clients with hundreds of lawyers and ensuring that everyone stays on track (no small feat!) seem smooth and seamless when it almost never is.  Our friends at GLAAD were masterful in helping us with this article.  And we could not do any of it without you, our friends and supporters, who in countless ways have helped us flourish since we were founded just a few years ago.

Finally, to Em, Katherine, Kit & Roberta:  Thank you for sharing your stories and your journeys in such a public way.  Providing the public with a glimpse of transgender people's lives, struggles, and concerns is a great way to change people's hearts and minds about transgender issues.

What a treat it was to wake up today to find this in the Times!  It's a great way to kick off a new year and new decade of advocacy for transgender equal rights!  We hope you enjoy the article.