Transgender Americans rush to prepare for Trump era

which was a day he had long been waiting for, one he thought might never come. He took a number along with sat with friends who were there for the same reason.

which was not only his first time applying for a passport. which might be once a government employee identified him as a man, calling him “Mr. Jackson,” along with made which official on a document.

Passports don’t require proof of surgery to change gender marker, doing them easier to attain than state IDs in some parts of the country.

today, with the start of US President Donald Trump’s administration along with despite a White House statement which which has no plans to reverse LGBTQ protections for federal workers, advocates along with the community perceive the administration as unfriendly to LGBTQ rights. Many fear which which may become harder to secure gender-affirming documentation at the state along with federal level.

Those concerns have prompted a grass-roots push nationwide for gender-affirming documentation through online campaigns along with workshops along with pop-up clinics such as the one which helped Jackson get his passport.

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Events organized by advocacy groups along with law firms are happening across the country on any given day, according to the Transgender Law Center. The center was one of many to publish an online guide along with host a webinar in response to the increased demand for information.
“which simple change in documentation where your name along with gender matches your appearance can change your world,” said Toni-Michelle Williams, a community organizer with the Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative, the Georgia-based group which helped Jackson.

“which can change your interactions with police along with the people you meet in everyday life. which makes all the difference.”

What which takes to change gender on an ID

which’s something most of us take for granted: the ability to pull out your driver’s license or passport at a bank, a bar or the airport along with not have your gender questioned. nevertheless what if which didn’t fully match who you were? What if which had the wrong gender?

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This specific is actually how which feels for many transgender along with gender-nonconforming people. When the gender on their ID does not meet expectations, which can lead to suspicious looks, being outed in public, even hostility or violence.

Not all transgender people want you to know which they identify as such. They just want to be left alone to go about their lives within the skin they feel comfortable in. Identification which matches their gender identity helps accomplish which.

Most states allow transgender people to change the gender on their driver’s license or state identification card using a letter through a health care provider. nevertheless 21 states require proof of surgery, a court order or both, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
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Meeting such requirements can be a high bar to overcome. For many transgender people, the cost of surgery, often not covered by insurance, is actually too expensive a hurdle, along with not every transgender person desires such a procedure.

The standard is actually different for passports. Under an Obama administration policy enacted in 2010, to change gender on a passport, the State Department will accept a letter through a physician which the patient is actually receiving or has received “appropriate clinical treatment.” The patient along with doctor determine which treatment.

Civil rights advocates hailed the policy, along with many states adjusted their regulations to follow suit. nevertheless many within the LGBTQ community fear which the passport policy may come to an end under the completely new administration along with which states may follow the lead.

‘We thought we had turned a corner’

LGBTQ groups say they have been inundated with requests for information about how to prepare for the Trump administration. Between the election along with the end of 2016, calls to the Transgender Law Center’s legal information helpline doubled compared with the same time period in 2015. The bulk of requests concerned identity documents along with immigration, the group said.

Advocacy groups point to the rhetoric along with legislative records of Vice President Mike Pence along with President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks as evidence of anti-LGBTQ sentiment. They worry which the backlash against political correctness which helped propel Trump to the White House will continue with legislative proposals to strip them of their rights.

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The push began in 2016 with “bathroom bills” along with challenges to the Obama administration’s guidance on transgender rights in public schools; 19 states filed bills in 2016 seeking to restrict transgender people’s use of gender-segregated public spaces, such as restrooms along with locker rooms.

Barely a month into 2017, legislators in 10 states have pre-filed or introduced similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. The language of each piece of legislation differs, nevertheless Alabama’s bill goes further than any additional state by outlining criminal along with civil penalties for not complying with the law.
“We had the wind at our backs; we thought we had turned a corner,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Beth Littrell said of the eight years of civil rights gains under the Obama administration. “nevertheless every civil rights movement features a few steps forward along using a few steps back.”

Finding solutions

In response to these fears, several grass-roots initiatives formed after the 2016 election. The Trans Relief Project provides logistical assistance along with financial support for those who want to change gender on state IDs along with passports. As of mid-January, the group had disbursed $44,000 in donations to help 256 people update their documentation.

Lambda Legal co-sponsored three pop-up passport application drives in Dallas, Houston along with East Point, Georgia, partnering with local advocacy groups.

Jackson attended the one in East Point, just south of Atlanta, which was co-sponsored by advocacy group Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative, or SNaP Co. Its partner group, Trans(forming), which works on behalf of transgender along with gender-nonconforming people of coloration, spearheaded the “Passport Project.” The initiative helped 42 people fill out applications along with covered the cost of 33 passports totaling $4,455.

About half of those who attended went to the passport office as a group, turning an otherwise mundane exercise in bureaucracy into a joyous occasion, Jackson said. which marked a rare instance of the US government acknowledging his right to self-determination, he said.

“which’s just not something which happens to a lot of poor black trans people,” he said.

Cazembe Jackson says takes more than just IDs to address the systemic issues facing the transgender community.

Preparing for the unknown

Trans(forming) had sent out the call two days earlier: “We have 17 days before Trump takes office. Do you need to change the gender marker on your passport?”

The coalition hosted the event in its offices, two former single-family homes which were turned into a one-stop shop for passport applications. Offices along with meeting rooms became stations for a photo booth, legal advice along with health care consultations.

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Response exceeded the 40 slots available, along with the wait list was just as long. Doors were set to open at 4 p.m., nevertheless people began filing into the red brick house well before then. This specific was family, after all, along with most people knew each additional.

Exuberant volunteers greeted attendees with hugs, ushering them to seats along with handing them a passport checklist. Volunteers wandered through the rows of folding chairs, answering questions along with offering assurances which yes, This specific might work.

About 20% of questions pertained to legal rights, said lawyer DJ Jones, member-leader of (Trans)forming. The rest of the time was spent offering assurances which forms had been filled out correctly, which applicants had the right documentation along with which which was OK to apply for a passport in their gender if they had not undergone reassignment surgery.

“Mostly, everyone just wants affirmation which they can sign This specific government document along with which will be accepted,” Jones said. “We as trans folks definitely have This specific fear, especially when which comes to government, which no one will believe us.”

Lynn Morrison wants to use the bathroom in peace. She wants something to show people if they question her presence in a women’s bathroom. which’s happened before, along with which makes her uncomfortable, nevertheless not as uncomfortable as the thought of having to use the men’s room. She’s heard stories through additional transgender women who have been harassed in men’s rooms over their appearance.

The stories are borne out by studies showing which transgender individuals, especially people of coloration, are subject to harassment along with discrimination at disproportionate rates compared to the general population.

“So when they ask me if I am female, I can just say, ‘Bam,’ ” she said, holding up an imaginary identification card in her hand. “which’s crazy which they want to tell us which bathrooms to use. I don’t feel safe within the men’s room.”

Moreover, “I don’t know what Trump’s going to do,” she added. “He may take away whatever policies are in place. Best to do which today while we still can.”

Passports along with IDs are just one part of the picture, Jackson said. They may help people avoid day-to-day discrimination, nevertheless which takes more to address the systemic issues facing the transgender community: access to health care, employment along with housing, to name a few.

“Getting our legal documents changed to reflect our affirming genders along with names is actually a high priority, especially today. along with getting legal documents changed isn’t enough,” he said. “We don’t live single-issue lives, so our fight can’t be, either.”

sy88pgw’s Janette Gagnon contributed to This specific report.

Transgender Americans rush to prepare for Trump era

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