Donald Trump has essentially promised to undo the slow progress that’s been made for transgender rights over the Obama administration. He’s appointed Mike Pence as his vice president, who, as governor of Indiana, enacted some of the harshest anti-LGBT laws in the country, and has said he will appoint a conservative Supreme Court justice. The transgender community is already reeling from his election, with suicide hotlines seeing a spike in trans callers.
But there is good coming from this warranted fear and anxiety: Online, lawyers are reaching out to help trans people protect themselves.
One of the biggest hurdles trans people face is changing names and gender markers on IDs, something that leads to a lot of discrimination and potentially voter disenfranchisement. So Twitter user @dtwps started the hashtag #TransLawHelp to connect trans people with lawyers who could help them through the process before Trump gets into office.
Starting tomorrow I will be a licensed attorney in Illinois. Contact me for pro bono help with name changes and legal docs. #translawhelp
— Tim Bingham (@TimBingham21) November 9, 2016
I am a notary in the State of Maine but I can notarize things from anywhere for ppl from anywhere. I just need to see you f2f #translawhelp
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) November 10, 2016
— Fiona Dawson (@fionajdawson) November 10, 2016
Hashtag creator Riley told the Daily Dot, “I just hoped to make a steady resource for trans people to expedite document changes. Even I planned to use it, actually.” They also said getting this work done before Trump takes office is just a matter of being cautious. “It would be hard to really legislate forcing people to change already changed docs rather than just making new changes hard. So that was a lot of the inspiration for me.”
Riley says they’re not surprised at the traction the hashtag has seen, just because there are so many people out there looking for these resources. However, they were surprised by the relative lack of trolls.
Every state has different laws regarding how to update gender markers on things like drivers licenses, ID cards, and passports, some of which require providing proof of surgery or updated birth certificates. But if the hashtag is any indication, there are lawyers in every state willing to help.
Update Nov. 11, 8am CT: Trans Law Help now has an official website, where contributors can share law resources for each state.