We provide free legal services to transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming low-income people and people of color. We represent and advise clients in a variety of contexts. For most clients, the opportunity to access legal services in an environment where gender self-determination is valued and respected is a new and often transforming experience.
We also work on precedent-setting lawsuits to strengthen the rights of all people against discrimination on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, or intersex condition.
- Our January 2003 victory in Jean Doe v. Bell established that discrimination against transgender youth in the New York foster care system is illegal and that transgender youth in foster care have the right to dress in clothing appropriate to their gender identity.
- In December 2003, our victory in Matter of Guido established that transgender name change applicants cannot be held to a higher evidentiary standard than non-transgender applicants. The Guido decision made the front page of the New York Law Journal and culminated in SRLP providing transgender awareness training to New York Civil Court Judges.
- Another major victory in 2003 reversed a family court order that denied our client the ability to visit her children while being open about her gender identity.
- In 2006, we settled Rodriguez v. Johnson, a case in which a transgender girl in juvenile detention was denied doctor-prescribed hormone therapy, placed in boys' facilities, and disciplined for expressions of femininity. The settlement resulted in monetary compensation for our client and ongoing committments from the agency, Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). Since then OCFS has changed its policies for the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in detention.
SRLP works to change policies that create obstacles to full inclusion and equal access for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming people. We work in the realms of housing and homeless services, adult and juvenile justice, health care provision and insurance, police practices, public benefits, employment, and education.
- In 2006, after years of work, SRLP and allies won a major victory for trans homeless people.
- In 2008, SRLP and allies won a non-discrimination policy for trans youth in the foster care system and a greatly improved non-discrimination policy for trans youth in the juvenile justice system
Two of our largest current campaigns are to change birth certificate sex designation procedures, so that it will be easier for transgender people to access identity documentation that reflects our current gender, and to change NYPD policies and practices for interacting with transgender people.
Community Organizing Support
Community Organizing Support means that as a legal organization SRLP believes in providing ongoing support to current and future trans community leaders through skills-building trainings, internships and volunteer opportunities, non-legal referrals and various other forms of individual support as well as building strong relationships and collaborating with community organizing projects that prioritize and support the leadership of transgender, gender non-conforming people and people with intersex conditions. It is important that they also keep the lives of tgnc people and people with intersex conditions central to the development of their campaigns, demands and issues.
SRLP provides trainings about transgender legal issues and transgender awareness, specifically to governmental agencies, attorneys and legal organizations, and sometimes as a part of settling cases of discrimination against our clients. These trainings focus on trans rights and the law, how to make services welcoming and accessible to transgender, intersex and gender non conforming people, and how to spot and properly address gender identity-related issues in legal situations. SRLP provides referrals for community organizations looking for transgender awareness trainings. SRLP also provides trainings and presentations about gender identity and economic justice issues to educational institutions. Trainings are provided on a sliding scale basis and are tailored to the needs of the trainee organization or institution. We also create training videos that can be distributed more broadly to raise awareness amongst service providers, schools, and other institutions about creating safe and accessible environments for people facing gender identity discrimination. Our video Toilet Training focuses on access to bathrooms for transgender and gender non-conforming people. We also offer free know your rights trainings on a variety of topics to audiences of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender nonconforming.