'Name Change Project' comes to Michigan

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), a national non-profit organization dedicated to ending discrimination against transgender people, is bringing its “Name Change Project” to Michigan.

The initiative provides legal assistance for transgender people who are seeking to legally change their names to reflect their true identities as men and women.

“It is often intimidating and difficult for transgender people to navigate the legal system for a name change,” said TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman. “With pro bono support from attorneys at Dykema Gossett PLLC and other potential Michigan law firms who wish to participate, TLDEF will help transgender Michigan residents through the name change process.”

“We’re excited to be expanding our ‘Name Change Project’ into Michigan,” Silverman added. “It is vital for transgender people to match their legal names with who they are. Doing so makes it far easier for them to live their lives free from discrimination in employment, housing, health care, and public accommodations.”

On Thursday, Sept. 24, TLDEF and Dykema will host a training for other Michigan attorneys who would like to volunteer on the project.

Heidi A. Naasko, Dykema’s pro bono and diversity  counsel, said the firm is “thrilled to help improve the lives of transgender people in Michigan through this ‘Name Change Project’ collaboration with TLDEF.”

“This firm is dedicated to serving communities in need,”?she said. “Assisting transgender people through the legal process of a name change to become their authentic selves illustrates that commitment.”

Since the program began as a pilot project in 2007, TLDEF’s “Name Change Project” has helped more than 2,000 people in nearly a dozen cities including Albany, Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Rochester.

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