Lambda Legal scored many amazing victories this year in the fight for the rights of LGBT people and people with HIV. But we’re not done yet. This series showcases some of our proudest accomplishments in 2014, and explores some of the work that we still need to do to achieve full equality for the LGBT and HIV communities.
Here are highlights of Lambda Legal’s transgender rights work in 2014 and goals for 2015.
- A Valentine’s Day Present for a Transgender Widow: When the federal government told 92 year old World War II Veteran, Robina Asti that she was not eligible for survivor’s benefits because they did not consider her legally female, we appealed her case and won. The victory also prompted a change in policy for how Social Security treats transgender people for purposes of marriage. Watch our video about Robina here.
- A Hub so Transgender Americans (and Their Allies) Can Know Their Rights: It’s important that everyone has free access to information and materials about their rights. That’s why we launched our Know Your Rights: Transgender hub last year, with information and resources covering a wide variety of transgender legal issues.
- Respect and Justice for a Transgender Woman in the Criminal Justice System: Donisha McShan, an African-American transgender woman, was placed in the male unit of a halfway house, where staff was instructed to address her with male pronouns and confiscate her feminine clothing and accessories. Lambda Legal threatened litigation. Four days later, the halfway house apologized to Donisha and informed her that from that point on they would respect her as the woman she is. Read Donisha’s story and watch our video about her.
- Help Stop Prison Rape In Texas: We’re fighting for the rights of Passion Star, an African-American transgender woman in the Texas prison system who has been repeatedly beaten, sexually assaulted, and stabbed. The prison has repeatedly denied her requests for safekeeping. Read more about our campaign and sign our petition.
- Know Your Rights, En Español: In 2015, we’ll launch more sections of the Spanish version of Know Your Rights: Transgender, to increase access to our knowledge and resources for the growing American Spanish-speaking community.
Changes to State Law in Illinois: Lambda Legal is working with Illinois state lawmakers to draft two bills that would improve the state’s treatment of transgender people, including eliminating the outdated surgery requirement for correcting the gender marker on birth certificates and making it easier for transgender individuals with a criminal record to complete a name change.