LGBTQIA+ History Month: NYC Community-Based Organizations and Legal Name Change and Gender Marker Guides

October 27, 2021

Health Justice, News, UndocuCare TGNCI+

A pride flag featuring the rainbow colors as well as the pink and blue Trans Pride colors.

This LGBTQIA history month, NYLPI honors the radical work of trans Latinx women and queer folx such as Sylvia Rivera and Lorena Borjas, and the organizations that they inspired: the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Colectivo Intercultural TRANSgrediendo.

We also lift up the groundbreaking efforts of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) and the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP)–organizations that continue to directly inform and inspire services provided by NYLPI’s UndocuCare TGNCI+ project, that provides direct immigration legal services to reduce barriers to gender-affirming healthcare and other public benefits. Through NYLPI’s TGNCI+ project, NYLPI has also connected folx to free legal name change representation. We owe much gratitude to TLDEF—a leader in this work—for working with TGNCI+ clients and for their partnership in co-hosting a legal name change clinic this past spring. 

NYLPI is excited to share this LGBTQIA history month, our newest resources, the Legal Name and Gender Marker Change Resource, and the Legal Name Change NYC Guide, available in English and Spanish. NYLPI’s Legal Name and Gender Marker Change resource was created to assist folx after they’ve been granted a legal name change. Sorting through the maze of bureaucratic agencies and office closures due to COVID-19 can discourage people from obtaining the identity documents they need with their chosen legal name and correct gender marker. Informed by the experiences of our clients and the communities we work with, these resources were created to support the broader community as they seek affirming identity documents. The TGNCI+ project also released today a do-it-yourself resource guide to obtaining a legal name change in New York City: the Legal Name Change NYC Guide. This resource lifts up and tailors information gathered by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project on how to complete the name change process.  

In the fight for health justice, we recognize that access to gender-affirming identity documents—identity documents with one’s chosen name and gender marker—is crucial to advancing the right to health. Possessing an accurate government ID is often necessary to access healthcare, housing, education, and employment: resources from which folx of trans and gender-nonconforming experience continue to be excluded and marginalized. Obtaining a legal gender marker and name change can reduce gender-based mistreatment and improve mental health outcomes. For folx of trans and gender-nonconforming experience, legal gender affirmation is significantly tied to lower reports of depression, anxiety, and psychiatric distress.  

NYLPI’s UndocuCare TGNCI+ team acknowledges that it is an incredible privilege to work alongside and serve trans and gender-nonconforming community members in New York and to learn from the legacies and ongoing work of trans Latinx women and other people of trans and gender-nonconforming experience. 

For more details about obtaining a legal name change in NYC, head to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s name change resource page, Arrowood Law’s Name Change & Post Name Change Instructions, and/or contact TLDEF for a consultation for free legal name change representation. 

Links to NYLPI’s Resources:  

Legal Name and Gender Marker Change Resource – Spanish 

Legal Name and Gender Marker Change Resource – English 

Legal Name Change, Do it Yourself NYC Resource – Spanish 

Legal Name Change, Do it Yourself NYC Resource – English 

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