Op-Ed

If You Are Transgender, This Might Make Your Life A Little Bit Easier

Illustration: Lars Leetaru

Scrolling through Twitter like usual, I found something that has to be one of the most charitable causes of which I know.

From what I learned from speaking with the group, the Trans Relief Project is a grassroots group started by four United States citizens, one of whom is transgender, and two of whom identify as queer. They started this project to help transgender individuals that are facing the difficulties of officially changing their name, updating their passport, birth certificates, and other forms of identification. They are giving this money to people in need of monetary help to afford updated identification and legal help.

Their small idea of helping raise funds for a few transgender people to get passports quickly escalated into helping as many transgender people as possible raise money to afford passports. Since they started their project after the election, they have already found hundreds of people who need help raising money or even just advice to get their passport. As they said, “This project was never intended to be this big, and it’s been tricky to figure it out, but we are determined to do as much as we can while we can to directly help people who need it.”

To prove that the organization was not a hoax and would honestly give the money to those who needed it, they tweeted a photo of their PayPal transactions (obviously edited for the individuals’ security).

You may be wondering how you could receive money from the Trans Relief Project to get help with changing your name. They are temporarily keeping a hold on incoming emails due to an overwhelming response, and are hoping to improve their infrastructure to increase efficiency. If you want to contact them and ask a question, you can just contact them through Twitter @transrelief.

Just like I was, you are probably asking where they are getting the money to pay people’s fees. It started from their own pockets and a handful of other people that the founders personally knew that we’re interested in helping in the beginning. Eventually, enough people heard about what they were doing and wanted to help. The majority of what they received were small donations (as little as five dollars).

Currently, they are closed for applications for assistance while they finalize some logistical and legal issues like partnering with a registered non-profit. In the meantime, they are focused on helping to disseminate information on passports and their importance for the transgender community. They advise people looking for help to take the opportunity to research the documents they need, passports especially. The sooner people start getting their paperwork in order the better. Check to make sure you have all the ID you need to submit. Take your photo. Make copies if necessary.

The Trans Relief Project is encouraging all of the transgender community to apply before Donald Trump is inaugurated in fear that the laws might change.

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