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Monday, October 6, 2014

Virginia TIES Name & Gender Change Clinic

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) works hard to make sure all transgender people have access to the information and resources they need to lead happy and healthy lives. In 2013 NCTE launched the Trans Legal Services Network (TLSN) to help improve and expand access to legal services for trans communities across the country. Through our TLSN project, NCTE helps organize efforts to provide name and gender change advice and services at conferences and other gatherings across the country.

On October 4th, 2014, NCTE organized name and gender change services at the Virginia Transgender Information and Empowerment Summit (Virginia TIES) Nearly 200 people from the Commonwealth and beyond attended the conference, held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.  NCTE’s Executive Director Mara Keisling spoke to the audience about the progress of trans rights and our work in years to come. NCTE’s Policy Counsel Arli Christian trained and mentored volunteer attorneys at the Summit Resource Center to provide name and gender marker change advice to conference attendees.

In partnership with Whitman-Walker Health Legal Services Program and Trans Legal Advocates of Washington (TransLAW), NCTE conducted a training for law students and local lawyers from the Virginia Equality Bar Association on the legal name change process in Virginia and the gender marker change requirements on various identity documents. In the afternoon the newly trained attorneys provided consultations to conference attendees to advise them on the name and gender change process. Under the supervision of seasoned mentors, the volunteer attorneys and participants worked together to fill out name change paperwork for submission in court and review sample letters and forms for gender marker changes to be filled out by medical or social service providers. Participants left the Summit Resource Center armed with completed and notarized name change paperwork, sample gender marker change forms and letters, and detailed individualized instructions on the next steps in their process.

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