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Project TRANS Connection

Working to Make Change Easier


By Connor Maddocks
Project TRANS Coordinator

There has been a flurry of great news on the marriage equality front, and the momentum we’re seeing now is the result of years and years of hard work by so many all across the country.
What may have gotten lost in all the news coverage is another significant development for our transgender community. The California State Assembly recently passed AB 1121, a bill that would simplify the process for name changes and would ensure that a transgender person’s gender identity is accurately indicated on all identity-related documents.

This bill, authored by our own Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins (and co-sponsored by the Transgender Law Center and Equality California), is deeply meaningful to the transgender community. One of the most necessary processes for individuals who are transitioning is to obtain identification that matches their gender identity. Think about how many times you are asked for photo identification. Now imagine that the gender identification on your driver’s license didn’t match your gender presentation and you begin to get an idea of what transgender individuals must deal with on a nearly daily basis.

AB 1121 creates an administrative option for transgender people who want to change their name and/or gender on a California birth certificate, eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic steps. It would also remove the cumbersome (and again, expensive) requirement for legal name changes to be published in a newspaper. It would also allow for uncontested name changes to be granted without a hearing.

In addition to the identity documentation that allows us to live our daily lives with dignity, this bill would also clarify that the gender indicated on a death certificate should match the deceased person’s gender identity.

The San Diego LGBT Community Center, and our new Project TRANS, are deeply grateful to Assemblymember Atkins for this truly helpful piece of legislation and support AB 1121 wholeheartedly.
While the bill has passed the Assembly, it is now set to go before the California State Senate, where passage is not guaranteed. Please join us and help move forward this bill that will help provide not just accurate identity documents, but simple human dignity for our transgender brothers and sisters.

More information on Project TRANS is available at http://www.thecentersd.org/programs/transgender-services.


Project TRANS – Creating a Place for All

While The San Diego LGBT Community Center has long offered services for transgender individuals, the time has come to branch out and work on issues that are really impacting the transgender community right now.

I am thrilled to become the first coordinator of Project TRANS, The Center’s Transgender Services Program.

Project TRANS makes even more real to people The Center’s commitment to serving the full diversity of our community. Project TRANS (Transgender Referrals, Assistance, Networking and Services) will serve as an umbrella for the various services The Center has previously offered specifically to the transgender community, including discussion groups, behavioral health services, HIV prevention services, youth services and more.

In addition, this new program will also focus on advocacy, referrals, outreach, sensitivity trainings, social activities and events, workshops and networking with community agencies. Through a partnership with the Transgender Law Center, we will also be able to provide assistance with legal documents for those who need to change their name and gender on their driver’s license or other forms of identification, often a daunting task for transgender individuals.

These services are invaluable, but this program does even more than serve our community – its presence at The Center sends a powerful message to transgender individuals of all ages – you belong here.

There’s nothing else like this in San Diego, and this will be an incredible opportunity for us to bring more people together and build the community. Not only will this program serve the transgender community, but provides us – all of us -- with an opportunity to interact and work more closely together. The more we can do as a unified community, the more successful we will be.

For me, growing up trans as a kid and not knowing or understanding what it is isolates you in such terrible ways. It’s deeply meaningful to me to be able to be here for our transgender and questioning youth, to create a place they can feel comfortable, get information and support and become empowered. To be part of letting them know they are not alone and they’re not crazy – that there are others like them and there are people here to help. Project TRANS can be the anchor for them to hold onto.

More information is available on our website at www.thecentersd.org/programs/transgender-services.