In This Issue
- Executive Director’s Message
- Staff Update
- Our Third Anniversary Benefit is Less than Three Weeks Away!
- Transgender Health Fair on June 4th!
- Victory! TLDEF Settles Landmark Farmer v. Caliente Cab Restaurant Lawsuit
- The Name Change Project Continues To Grow
Executive Director’s Message
Greetings, and welcome to TLDEF’s spring quarterly newsletter. What a great few months it’s been! As most of you know, we settled the Farmer v. Caliente Cab Restaurant Co. case with a terrific result. Through our Transgender Health Initiative, we’ve been preparing for a big community health fair. And, yes, we’re turning 3 and having a big bash this June! The Name Change Project continues to grow, and we’re steadily training more lawyers to offer free legal services to the community. And with our partners at the Empire State Pride Agenda and the GENDA Coalition, we were able to send community members directly to Albany to meet with legislators on Equality & Justice Day to talk to them about why civil rights legislation is so important for our community. Our efforts have had direct results. GENDA is moving out of committee and towards a vote in the Assembly. While much remains to be done, New York is moving closer to becoming a state that respects the rights of all of its people, regardless of gender identity or expression.
Of course, we continue to represent clients who experience discrimination based on their gender identity or expression. In one case, a group of transgender women were flatly denied service in a local New York City bar because of who they are. In another, a young man was denied employment because he’s transgender. The discrimination our clients face is real, and our response will be strong. We’ll keep you informed about these and all of our cases as they develop.
For now, we’re gearing up for a terrific Third Anniversary Benefit and we’d really love to see you there. The money we raise at the benefit goes directly to support our work for justice and equal rights. It’s a way to have a great time while supporting a great cause. Buy your ticket now and join us as we celebrate our successes and prepare for the work that lies ahead.
Thank you for your support, and for making our work possible.
We’re very excited to welcome this season’s group of summer interns to TLDEF! Claire Kaup has just finished her first year of law school at the University of Michigan Law School and is the recipient of TLDEF’s Michigan Law Fellowship. Claire is also pursuing a master’s degree in Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan. Ryan Taylor also comes to us from the University of Michigan Law School, where he has just completed his second year of study. Elizabeth Ricks, who has a master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies, recently completed her second year of law school at DePaul University College of Law. Most recently, she worked as an intern at Lambda Legal in Chicago. And finally, we’re happy to welcome our first non-legal intern, Jess Kahn. Jess is a student at Hampshire College, and is a student leader with Hampshire College’s Queer Community Alliance and Trans Student Alliance.
We also bid a fond farewell to Mandy Hu, who interned with us during her final semester at New York University School of Law through the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program. Mandy was an incredible asset to TLDEF, and we'll miss her. Now that she has graduated, she will be clerking for a federal judge. We wish her all the best!
And finally, in addition to his work at TLDEF, executive director Michael Silverman will be Adjunct Professor of Law at Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University in the coming semester, teaching a course on gender, sexuality and the law. You can read all about our staff here.
We're preparing for a fabulous Third Anniversary Benefit in less than three weeks and we want you to join the party! Your support has been crucial to our success in our early years, and we'd love to have you at our party to celebrate with us as we plan for growth and more success in the future. We've had another tremendous year, with exciting media coverage of our cutting-edge legal work, and rapid growth in our direct services programs like the Name Change Project. The money we raise at the Third Anniversary Benefit through ticket sales directly supports all of our work for justice and equal rights. Buy your ticket now and join us at the party!
What: Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at TLDEF's Third Anniversary Benefit
Where: The Ritz, 369 West 46th Street (between 8th Ave. & 9th Ave.), NYC
When: Tuesday, June 10, 2008, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Why: To support our work for equal rights!
We’ve been hard at work planning the Second Annual Transgender Health Fair. The Fair will be held on Wednesday, June 4th, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. The Center is located at 208 West 13th Street, in Manhattan.
Last year, over 200 people attended, and we’re working to make the fair even bigger and better this year. The fair brings together community members who are seeking health care information and connections with providers who are experienced in working with the transgender community. We'll have free health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, mental health and more. Transgender-specific health information will be available, as will information on smoking cessation, nutrition, health insurance and more. We'll be featuring Medicaid enrollment, and even voter registration! As an added bonus, our sponsors will once again be providing great food and drinks to keep the atmosphere festive as well as educational.
Here are just a few of the providers confirmed to be at the fair: St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan, the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, Bronx Community Healthcare Network, the Empire State Pride Agenda, and many more.
Transphobia in healthcare is unhealthy, and the Transgender Health Fair is the place to find the competent, sensitive health care information and services you've been looking for!
As we announced to our supporters first, TLDEF recently reached a settlement in the landmark lawsuit Farmer v. Caliente Cab Restaurant Co. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Khadijah Farmer, a 28 year-old lesbian who was thrown out of a restaurant because a bouncer thought that she was too masculine-looking to be in the women's restroom.
As part of the settlement, Caliente has agreed to, among other things:
- add gender, including gender identity and expression, to its corporate non-discrimination policy;
- amend its employee handbook to state "persons patronizing or employed at Caliente have the right to use the bathroom facilities consistent with their gender identity and expression;"
- adopt a gender-neutral dress code for its employees;
- institute personnel training programs regarding its new policies; and
- pay $35,000 in damages to plaintiff Khadijah Farmer.
On the night of June 24, after New York's LGBT Pride March, Khadijah, her girlfriend and another friend went to Caliente Cab. When Khadijah went to use the women's restroom, the restaurant's bouncer followed her in, pounded on the door of the stall she was using and proceeded to throw her out of the bathroom and the restaurant, despite her attempts to show him her identification demonstrating that she is female.
Many transgender and gender non-conforming people experience harassment and discrimination when trying to access sex-segregated facilities like bathrooms. Khadijah's case highlights the deeply interconnected nature of the struggle for transgender rights and lesbian and gay rights. Gender expression discrimination can affect anyone - transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight.
The settlement sends a clear message that discrimination on the basis of gender expression will not be tolerated. It received widespread media coverage. We’re really happy with the result, and Khadijah’s really happy with the result. You’ll have a chance to meet and hear more from Khadijah at our Third Anniversary Benefit. See you there!
We’re very pleased with the growth of the Name Change Project. First, we’d like to welcome Debevoise & Plimpton as our newest law firm partner. Debevoise lawyers have already begun working with Name Change Project clients. And in two weeks, we’ll be providing our largest training ever to lawyers from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, Shearman & Sterling, and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. We’re working hard to ensure that we have all the legal resources we need to meet community demand.
We’re also working to ensure that we’re reaching community members who need the Name Change Project’s services most. We've developed new outreach cards (front, back). And we’ve been working with a variety of community organizations to make our services available to their clients. Among the groups we’ve been working with are Housing Works, Positive Health Project, CitiWide Harm Reduction, Hispanic AIDS Forum, and the Bronx Community Healthcare Network.
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 we’ve assembled, we’re helping as many people as we can. If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact us.