City Desk

Whitman Walker Health Helping Trans D.C. Residents Get the Right IDs

MetroWeekly notes that the Whitman-Walker health center—a health care clinic with a focus on HIV and LGBT patients—will be hosting a bimonthly legal clinic to assist transgender residents with the legal side of transitioning:

The ''Name and Gender Clinic'' will be held every other month – following initial June and July – and will allow clients of WWH to meet one-on-one with trained attorneys from Trans Legal Advocates of Washington, who will provide counseling and assistance with processes for changing one's name and gender in public records and other official documents, such as driver's licenses, passports and birth certificates.

The National Center for Transgender Equality, a trans advocacy group, found in a survey that only one in five transgender people had updated all of their IDs and records with their gender identity after transitioning—and one in three hadn't updated any IDs or records. The authors note, "gender incongruent identification exposes people to a range of negative outcomes, from denial of employment, housing, and public benefits to harassment and physical violence."

Somewhat related: Recent stories in the Post and New York magazine have won praise for sensitive portrayals of parents who are grappling with their kids' gender dysphoria—a condition where a person identifies, despite their anatomy, with a different gender—and highlighted the difficulties of transitioning in youth. They deserve the accolades for bringing these stories out of the shadows, and for pointing out that there really are no easy answers.

But it's a reminder that as hard as things are for families who are figuring out what to do as their kids approach puberty, these kids still have people in their lives to smooth their paths a bit. For adults and teens who transitioned without support, there's often no mother carrying a file of identification documents. Programs like WWH's help trans men and women get the paperwork they need to conduct even the most basic of personal business.

WWH's first Name and Gender Clinic will be held June 12.

Photo by In Shaw via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License

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