Proper identification that matches a person’s name and gender marker is necessary for navigating everyday life. However, people presenting a new gender identity often face challenging and complex processes for updating documents and records.
In October, the Virginia Equality Bar Association and the Carrico Center partnered to simplify this process by offering pro bono legal services at the Transgender Information and Empowerment Summit. The annual event, organized by Equality Virginia, offers resources, information, connection, and inspiration for transgender and gender-nonconforming Virginians, their caregivers, and the professionals who serve them.
To prepare for the pro bono clinic, six law students joined volunteer attorneys from VEBA, Whitman-Walker Health, and the National Center for Transgender Equality for a two-hour training. They learned how to assist clients interested in name and gender marker changes on documents ranging from birth certificates to driver’s licenses. The students then teamed up with the volunteer attorneys to help approximately 30 clients through the processes to have their legal identifications reflect more accurately who they are.
“I’ve been really encouraged by our law student interest in this,” said Tara Casey, director of the Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service. “I always find it to be heartening because it means that we have students who care about these issues and want to be of service.”