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Lawyers are offering pro bono legal help for the trans community

Bibi Deitz is the News Editor at STYLECASTER. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Bennington College and lives in Brooklyn. Recent work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bustle, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, The Huffington Post, ...

Trans people can get free legal aid for name and ID changes in the wake of the presidential election.

It’s a scary, sad time right now for a lot of us in this country. Trans Lifeline, a crisis line staffed by transgender people for transgender people, reports that they have received more than 350 calls since Donald Trump was elected president. And in the midst of all of this darkness, it’s hard to find light.

But it’s vital to stand up for each other and work together right now, and here’s one glimmer of hope: The hashtag #TransLawHelp is sweeping Twitter, and lawyers across the country are standing up to help people in the transgender community legally change their names and IDs ASAP, before Trump becomes president (and Mike Pence—who is strongly opposed to gay marriage and has said "societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family”—becomes VP).

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First and foremost, Chase Strangio, a trans man who works as an ACLU staff attorney, broke it down on Twitter. “For those following #translawhelp - some basic resources. First, we love you and are here. The community is strong and ready to help,” he wrote. “ID documents are controlled by different local, state and federal agencies so you can't change them all at once. Different rules for all.”

If you want to find out exactly what your state requires, you can do so online. “For an overview of state and federal policies start at @TransEquality's ID doc center: http://www.transequality.org/documents,” he wrote. “For updating your passport, info is here. You do not need surgery.”

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“Passports are expensive, if someone following this tag wants to start a fund let's make it happen. I can help,” he continued. Already, people have offered to cover the costs of passport changes for members of the transgender community who need financial assistance. “It is free to update your gender in yr Social Security records & you don't need surgery,” he added. “If you need help with your ID documents we will keep working on financial and legal resources and connect people to local advocates.”

Just one word: Yes. No matter what, there is always hope, and the kindness of strangers—in this case, via Twitter—is just one important sign that the election is only going to inspire some of us to be kinder than ever to one another. Now is the time to stand up for each other, which is why #TransLawHelp is so important. If you want to help, or you need help, head over to Twitter and join the cause.

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