#TransLawHelp and the call for #BigLaw to join us.
Late on November 8, 2016 still processing the news of the election, Riley H (twitter handle @dtwps) saw this tweet from Liz Fong-Jones in their feed:
As a trans person living in NYC, they realized that updating their name on their identity documents, particularly their passport, was something they wanted done, and fast. In the rush to reach out for legal support, it occurred to them that other trans people across the nation were probably feeling the same pressure to update and secure their name and gender changes. Aware of the hashtag power of Twitter, Riley H sent out this tweet at 1:09pm:
From there, things took off. Attorneys started tweeting out their locations and availability to help trans people pro bono:
And trans people started asking for help, which often is costly and generally inaccessible to many of us:
Along with the need for legal support came the need for financial assistance, as so many trans people are under or unemployed due to rampant, anti-trans employment discrimination, as documented in “Injustice at Every Turn: The National Transgender Discrimination Survey” from 2011.
Several fundraisers were quickly created. Kendra Albert, (twitter handle @kendraserra) created a fund to match individual donors with individual trans people in need of financial assistance to update name/gender documentation and passports.
In one week, they have matched forty nine thousand dollars ($49,000) worth of donor support to trans people across the country:
I coordinated with Kendra, and created a fundraiser for smaller donations prioritizing funding passport changes for the following reasons:
Though incredibly generous donations from people across the country, we have raised almost nine thousand dollars and funded 30 passports so far:
While the fundraisers were generating money, Riley H and their team of volunteer web designers were busy turning #TransLawHelp into TransLawHelp.org, a site listing state by state pro-bono legal resources including attorneys, notaries, legal clinics and name and gender change resources and forms.
What was initially a personal move towards safety became an intra-community call for support and has now turned into a nation-wide call to action, to support trans people in a vulnerable moment in time.
Which is why, we at Translawhelp.org, are offically calling on #BigLaw and #corporate lawyers to join us in this work. While we have compiled many individual attorneys and resources across the country, no BigLaw or corporate firm has yet offered to openly support our work with their collective power.
This support would be a game changer, and would provide incredible momentum and visibility to our movement to ensure legal security and protection for transgender people facing uncertain and dangerous times ahead.
While we push forward in harnessing our collective power across the country, we welcome BigLaw and corporate firms to join our work. We need you, trans people need you.