In This Issue
- Executive Director’s Message
- The Name Change Project Welcomes Sullivan & Cromwell
- Transphobia in Healthcare is Unhealthy!
- TLDEF's Anniversary Benefit is Just Around the Corner
Executive Director’s Message
Greetings, and welcome to TLDEF’s winter quarterly newsletter. We’re excited to bring you up to date on the work we’ve been doing, including the expansion of our Name Change Project and the progress of the Transgender Health Initiative of New York. Through our cases, we continue to hear from clients who have been subjected to a shocking level of discrimination. We’re working with clients who have been denied medical treatment, been subjected to verbal and physical abuse on the streets of their neighborhoods, and been refused service at bars and restaurants. I'm sad to report that "we don't serve your kind" is something we still hear.
But with your help, we’re fighting back. Cases like Farmer v. Caliente Cab Restaurant Co. – a lawsuit we filed against a restaurant that ejected a woman because its bouncer thought she was too masculine to use the women’s restroom – have captivated the public’s imagination. Khadijah Farmer’s integrity and refusal to apologize for who she is have garnered media attention from The New York Times to the Today Show and beyond. Through our work with the media, we’ve had the opportunity to educate millions of Americans about the harms of discrimination related to a person’s gender identity or expression.
There’s more to be done, though. While
The time to act is now. We know that discrimination remains too common. And we know that fair-minded people support equal rights for our communities. With that combination, 2008 promises to be a year of great progress towards transgender equal rights. As always, thank you for support and for making our work possible.
We’re thrilled to welcome Sullivan & Cromwell as the newest partner in our Name Change Project. Sullivan & Cromwell joins our founding partner, Morrison & Foerster, in providing free legal services to community members through the Name Change Project. The project has experienced tremendous growth, with over 65 clients participating in just the few months since the project was launched.
For many transgender people, a legal name change is a first step towards conforming their legal identities to the way they identify and live their lives. But securing a legal name change can be an intimidating experience, involving interaction with the court system and judges that is foreign to many people. It can involve a significant expense as well as a serious commitment of time and effort. By ensuring that transgender people have adequate legal representation when seeking name changes, the Name Change Project ensures that they can successfully negotiate the legal process and move forward with their lives.
Here’s what one Name Change Project client had to say:
Transitioning was a very hard thing for me to do, for many reasons, but the Name Change Project made it a whole lot easier for me. I had a lot of anxiety about the name change process, especially because I have a disability which makes it hard to go back and forth to courts, so I kept putting it off. But you made it much easier than I ever thought it would be. -- Yanna R.
The Name Change Project’s premise is simple: everyone who wants a lawyer deserves to have one to make the legal name change process as simple as possible. TLDEF coordinates the project and provides every participant with a trained volunteer lawyer from a partner law firm. With the winning combination of lawyers from Morrison & Foerster and Sullivan & Cromwell, we’re helping as many people as we can. While demand for services continues to outstrip our supply of lawyers, we expect to have some exciting news about additional law firm partners by the time you read our next quarterly newsletter. Stay tuned!
The members of the Transgender Health Initiative of New York have been hard at work improving access to health care for transgender people. Transgender people face systemic discrimination within the health care system. And rather than enduring abuse and poor treatment, transgender people often simply do without health care. We co-founded the Health Initiative to address this problem. It’s a community organizing project whose goal is to ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming people can access health care in a safe, respectful and non-discriminatory manner.
Health Initiative members recently began working with New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country. Health Initiative members determined that HHC, with its mission to serve all New Yorkers without regard to ability to pay, represented an ideal next step in the Health Initiative's work to ensure that transgender people, many of whom are poor and uninsured, can safely access health care. We’re making great strides in reforming policies and practices within HHC facilities, and expect to achieve even more in the months to come.
It’s also time to mark your calendars for the Health Initiative’s Second Annual Transgender Health Fair, which will be held on the evening of June 4th at the LGBT Community Center in New York. Last year’s fair was attended by over 200 people, and we’re planning to make this year’s fair an even bigger success. We’ll be sending around more information about the fair soon, so keep an eye on your inbox!
Please plan to join us for our upcoming birthday bash. We’re planning to have a great birthday party in May. Watch your inbox for an invitation coming soon. Our anniversary party is a great way to support our work for transgender equal rights!