Member Spotlight: Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois
The Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois (TJLP) is one of over 50 members of NCTE’s Trans Legal Services Network. NCTE launched the Network in 2013 to build the capacity of organizations serving the legal needs of trans communities across the country, and provides practical advice, technical support and legal resources to strengthen the work of our Network members. Through monthly phone calls, listserv conversations, and individualized support the Network serves to improve and expand name and gender change services and other legal services available to trans people nationwide.
TJLP is a Network member doing wonderful work expanding access to trans legal support in the Chicago area. In 2011 TJLP launched the Name Change Mobilization Project, a project designed to help guide and support individuals in Chicago through the complicated name change process. Every last Friday of the month, TJLP volunteers set up shop in the civic center in downtown Chicago and assist people with changing their legal names. Attorneys, interns, and other volunteers help applicants fill out name change paperwork and fee waivers, file the paperwork upstairs, and have a volunteer return with the applicant for the final hearing.
The Name Change Mobilization was uniquely designed to make the complicated and expensive legal name change process more accessible to the transgender community. It is a free service and located conveniently in the court building. Beyond much-needed technical assistance, the project brings together the community to ensure we do not have to face such challenging steps alone. Owen Daniel-McCarter and Avi Rudnick are TJLP attorneys who helped develop the idea for the project and supervise many of the mobilizations. “So many of the folks who are helping do name changes have gone through the name changes themselves,” Owen explains.