December 17, 2013

New Resource Available to Pittsburgh's Transgender Community
Unique Collaboration Offers Support for Legal Name Changes

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) brings “Name Change Project” to Pittsburgh, teaming up with legal team of BNY Mellon and law firm Reed Smith LLP, to offer pro bono name change services to transgender people seeking to match their legal documents with their true identities

New York, NY, and Pittsburgh, PA, December 17, 2013 - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), a national non-profit organization dedicated to ending anti-transgender discrimination, today announced that its “Name Change Project” is now available to transgender people in the Pittsburgh region.

The “Name Change Project” provides legal assistance for transgender people who are seeking to change their legal names to match who they are. “It is often intimidating, expensive and time consuming for transgender people to navigate the legal system for a name change,” said TLDEF Executive Director, Michael Silverman. “With pro bono support from lawyers at BNY Mellon and Reed Smith LLP, TLDEF will help transgender people through the name change process.”

“We’re thrilled to be expanding our ‘Name Change Project’ into Pittsburgh,” Silverman added. “For many transgender people, matching their legal names with who they are makes it far easier for them to live their lives free of discrimination in employment, housing, health care, and public accommodations. We’re tremendously grateful to BNY Mellon and Reed Smith for helping us bring this resource to the transgender community in Pittsburgh.”

BNY Mellon was recently named among the Human Rights Campaign’s “Best Places to Work” for LGBT equality and has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for the past seven years. The company is joining TLDEF’s “Name Change Project” through a team of employee volunteers as an extension of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, bringing a crucial resource to those who are simply trying to bring their legal documents in line with their true selves.

“We’re invested in having a positive impact in the world, and our work on the ‘Name Change Project’ allows us the unique and meaningful opportunity to do just that,” said Stanley Koepke, a member of BNY Mellon’s legal team and the local co-chair of its pro bono initiatives. “We’re proud to be a part of a collaboration that will help make life easier for Pittsburgh’s transgender community.”

Reed Smith LLP also was named among the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” and earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2014 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the nation’s premier barometer for workplace equality. In order to further its pro bono and diversity initiatives, Reed Smith decided to partner with TLDEF and BNY Mellon to bring the “Name Change Project” to Pittsburgh.

“The ‘Name Change Project’ is a vital resource for transgender people,” said Tyree Jones, Reed Smith Partner and Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion. “We’re committed to working side by side with TLDEF and BNY Mellon to help transgender people maneuver through the legal procedures and successfully match their legal names with who they truly are.”

To date, New York-based TLDEF has helped over 1,300 people with name changes in New York City through a collaboration with dozens of law firms and corporate legal departments. The organization has also begun providing name change services in Milwaukee, WI and in other parts of New York State, including Albany and Rochester.