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Trans Law Help Wisconsin

About Trans Law Help Wisconsin

2018 Wisconsin Legal Innovator

We were named a 2018 Wisconsin Legal Innovator!

Trans Law Help Wisconsin is a legal aid clinic staffed by volunteer attorneys. We provide assistance to the transgender community by helping individuals obtain corrected identity documents (birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, etc.) reflecting their authentic name and gender. At the clinic, participants will receive necessary information about the process for obtaining a name and a gender marker change as well as hands-on assistance with completing the required forms.

Additional services

Financial Assistance Program

Trans Law Help Wisconsin offers financial assistance for individuals who cannot afford a part of the name and gender change process. For example, if an individual is pursuing a name change through the courts, they will need to pay a publication fee to publish their name change hearing as part of the process. We are able to help subsidize or cover the cost of the fee, or any other cost that an individual may not be able to afford as they change their name and gender marker on their identity documents. We can either provide a cashier’s check payable directly to the entity requiring the fee, or we can offer reimbursement for the fee. To request assistance, please contact us.

 

In addition to our financial assistance, the Trans Lifeline Microgrants Program offers financial support to trans individuals in the United States who are changing their legal name on identity documents. The application process opens on the 1st and 15th of each month, and there currently is a wait list. Trans Lifeline currently offers funding for documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, state IDs, court-ordered name change costs, immigration documents, and tribal IDs. They do not offer funding for birth certificates, medical procedures, or housing.

We Will Go With You

Trans Law Help Wisconsin offers support for individuals who would like someone to accompany them to their name and/or gender change hearing. Volunteers are available to individuals who would feel more comfortable having someone with them as emotional support. While this volunteer will not be representing the individual in court, they will be a safe and encouraging presence during the individual’s name and/or gender change hearing.

Wisconsin Name and Gender Change Guide

We’ve created a document that describes how to go through the name and gender change process in Wisconsin.

Upcoming Clinics

Our April clinic will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2020! This clinic will be held at GHC Capitol Clinic, 675 W. Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53733.

Location

GHC Capitol Clinic

Address

675 W. Washington Ave

Madison WI 53703

Date

Saturday, April 18

Time

1:00 pm–3:00 pm

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In the Media

2019 Oct

We were featured in an article in the Isthmus in October!

Read the Article
2018 Nov

We were named one of Wisconsin’s 2018 legal innovators by the State Bar of Wisconsin!

Read the Article

Resources

Community Services

Outreach

Madison’s LGBT Resource Center

Gender Wellness

A project of Outreach Madison

Healthcare Services

UW Path Clinic

UW/American Family Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric and Adolescent Transgender Health Clinic

UW Gender Services Clinic

UW clinic for adults

Legal Resources

LRIS

State Bar of Wisconsin’s Lawyer Referral & Information Service

TLH WI’S Lawyer Directory

Coming soon!

Our Blog

Legally X- The X Gender Marker

By: Avery Cordingley

15 January 2020

Legally X

In 2010, Arkansas became the first state to allow for an “X” gender designation on one’s license or state-issued ID. At the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, staff were instructed via an internal email that the department’s official policy was “to allow a licensee to change their gender as requested, no questions asked, no documentation required.” It wasn’t until 2018, however, that a resident took the state up on the offer to be legally recognized as non-binary on their state ID. Then Director of Communications Scott Hardin confirmed that the state’s stance had been on the books for eight years, despite having been enacted without any fanfare.

 

While Arkansas’ policies on gender markers have always been a bit murky, other states have, of late, been quite clear on the matter. In 2016, Oregon made headlines nationwide when a circuit court judge ruled that Jamie Shupe may change their legal gender designation to non-binary, becoming the first American citizen to obtain such a designation. At the time of the ruling, no policies were in place with the Oregon DMV or the State to put Shupe’s gender change to paper, but by 2019, any Oregon resident may change their gender marker to M, F, or X without being required to submit any proof of gender.

 

Oregon and Arkansas are no longer alone in allowing for an “X” on one’s license. 15 states and the District of Columbia currently allow for a non-binary “X” designation on a state ID or driver’s license. Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Hawaii will soon follow in 2020, Illinois in 2024. (National Center for Transgender Equality).  A further four states allow for an “X” on one’s birth certificate (Senate and General Assembly of NJ, Chapter 58). The states all differ in how easily residents can update their documents. Some allow for a self-stated gender designation, several require doctor’s notes or other proof of one’s gender identity, while a couple go so far as to require the person to petition a judge for permission to have an “X” on their paperwork.

 

Wisconsin joins the majority of US states in having no provision to allow for a third gender option on its licenses or state IDs, and no announcements about a move toward such a change. Despite this, the state has made steps over the past decade toward easing the requirements for changing the gender marker on one’s documents. In Wisconsin, a person wishing to change their gender marker on their driver’s license or other state-issued ID only needs certification from a medical or mental health professional, rather than having to show proof of surgical treatment. Wisconsin does not have a specific form the applicant needs to have filled out, and will instead need to request a note or letter from their provider. This can further simplify the process for many applicants since any health provider will suffice for this letter; some states only accept this certification from a limited range of providers.

 

While Wisconsin does not currently have anything in the works to begin allowing for a third gender option on licenses or state IDs, recent nationwide trends shed a positive light on the matter. Since Oregon’s court case made headlines five years ago, state after state has made the move to add a third gender option with increasing rapidity. More states could amend policies of their own accord, or with shifts in government, or the courts could drive the change as residents bring suit against states.

 

In summary, while currently Wisconsin has no policy allowing for a third gender on licenses and state IDs, the momentum across the country is building. It is not out of the realm of possibility for policies to shift dramatically within the next few years. A decade ago, no states had policies legally recognizing a third gender, and now, over twenty states recognize a third gender in some capacity. In time, that number is likely to increase, and, optimistically, become the standard nationwide.

 

 

Resources

How Trans Friendly is the Driver’s License Policy in Your State?

Overview of State Laws – Non Binary and Intersex

 

Bibliography

AAMVA. “Resource Guide on Gender Designation on Driver’s Licenses and Identification Cards.” American Association of Motor Vehicle Administration, September 2016. file:///C:/Users/Avery/Downloads/ResourceGuideOnGenderDesignationOnDLID_September2016.pdf.

“How Trans Friendly Is the Driver’s License Gender Change Policy in Your State?” National Center for Transgender Equality, n.d. https://transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/id/Drivers%20License%20Grades%20Nov%202019.docx.pdf.

New Mexico Department of Health. “New Mexico Becomes Fourth State to Allow Gender-Neutral Sex Designation on Birth Certificates,” October 19, 2019. https://nmhealth.org/news/information/2019/10/?view=810.

O’Hara, Mary Emily. “‘Nonbinary’ Is Now a Legal Gender, Oregon Court Rules.” The Daily Dot, June 10, 2016. https://www.dailydot.com/irl/oregon-court-rules-non-binary-gender-legal/.

Intersex and Genderqueer Recognition Project. “Resources: Non-Binary Gender. Intersex.,” October 14, 2019. https://www.intersexrecognition.org/resources.

Senate and General Assembly of NJ. Chapter 58 (Corrected Copy), Pub. L. No. P.L. 1984, § 1, 191 (2018).

Sosin, Kate, and Nico Lang. “Arkansas — Yes, Arkansas — Quietly Begins Issuing Gender-Neutral IDs to Non-Binary People.” Into, October 16, 2018. https://www.intomore.com/impact/arkansas-yes-arkansas-quietly-begins-issuing-gender-neutral-ids-to-non-binary-people.

———. “Utah among Growing Number of States Issuing Gender-Neutral IDs.” NBC News, March 18, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/utah-among-growing-number-states-issuing-gender-neutral-ids-n984326.

 

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