READ: Know Your Rights during COVID-19

Trans people & Navigating COVID-19

COVID-19 and TLDEF’s Preparedness

TLDEF has maintained a preparedness plan to inform its operations since news broke of the first COVID-19 cases arriving in New York. As of early March, TLDEF temporarily closed its office to ensure the safety and health of its staff, clients, and partners. TLDEF remains “open” albeit operating virtually in line with both city and state orders for workers to remain at home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Know Your Rights during COVID-19

In times of crisis, transgender and non-binary people among other communities are often at higher risk of violence and discrimination. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a series of unique challenges that may have long-term impact on transgender people and their families.

TLDEF has prepared Know Your Rights guide for transgender and non-binary people who are grappling with questions related to employment, housing, health care, identification, and accessing assistance from government agencies among other issues. The guide is available in both English and Español.

Additionally, TLDEF has developed a separate New York State guide for transgender and non-binary people who live in the Empire State. The resource was produced in partnership with two groups, including New York Trans Advocacy Group (NYTAG) and the TransLatinx Network .


New York State

Please note that the New York State guide has not been updated since June 1, 2020 and the National guide has not been updated since May 18, 2020. Many of the government programs mentioned in it have ended. TLDEF will update this Guide if there is additional legislation to address the pandemic.

The guides are dedicated to the memory of Lorena Borjas.

Name Change Project

Obtaining accurate identification is a matter of safety and well-being for transgender and nonbinary people. Accessing medical care and facilities and vital social services with identification that matches our authentic selves is part of the equation for keeping trans and non-binary people healthy.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented public health crisis in the United States. At TLDEF, the health and safety of both our clients and our pro bono counsel is our top priority. We are also striving to ensure minimal disruption to the Name Change Project.

TLDEF’s Name Change Project remains open to conduct intakes. You can apply by completing our intake form. A Name Change Project Associate will follow up shortly by email to schedule a phone intake.

The staff of the Name Change Project is closely monitoring developments as courts begin to re-open with social distancing measures and modified procedures in place. In-person appearances are suspended across all Name Change Project sites. However, courts in all sites are accepting new filings, and many have devised remote hearing practices for name changes.

TLDEF’s Name Change Project and our pro bono counsel are working with clients to conduct intakes; complete all appropriate documents; and file cases. While the process has been modified to maintain the health and safety of all participants, we are doing everything possible to insure the smooth operation of our program.

As the situation develops, TLDEF and our pro bono partners will keep clients informed about any changes and next steps in the process.

If you have any questions, please contact the Name Change Project team .

Updated on Jul 24, 2020