Garden State Equality Partners with Hunnell Law Group and McCarter & English to Provide Free Name Change Assistance to Trans New Jerseyans

Garden State Equality Partners with Hunnell Law Group and McCarter & English to Provide Free Name Change Assistance to Trans New Jerseyans


Today, Garden State Equality is pleased to announce a partnership with Hunnell Law Group and McCarter & English to provide pro bono legal assistance to trans people in New Jersey seeking legal name changes. Garden State Equality has been working over the past few years to reduce the barriers and challenges associated with updating identity documents. Financial barriers, especially those associated with legal fees, remain a significant factor.


The partnership comes soon after the New Jersey Supreme Court eliminated the requirement for name changes to be published in a newspaper, making name changes safer and more accessible for trans New Jerseyans. Garden State Equality, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and Lowenstein Sandler submitted comments to the Court supporting this rule change.


“Access to accurate identity documents is critical for trans people to fully participate in society,” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “We’re so grateful to our partners at Hunnell and McCarter & English for their support of New Jersey’s trans community. Removing the financial barrier to updating identity documents ensures that all in our community can benefit from some equality we’ve fought for. ”


“We’re very proud to partner with Garden State Equality to ensure that New Jersey’s trans community has access to obtain accurate identity documents no matter their financial circumstances,” said Stephanie Hunnell of the Hunnell Law Group. “Cost should not be a barrier to obtaining legal recognition of one’s gender identity.”


“I am proud of McCarter & English’s commitment to LGBTQA+ equity, including through our award-winning pro bono program,” said Natalie Watson, Partner at McCarter & English. “We have been honored to serve as pro bono counsel to countless transgender people seeking name changes; to national organizations opposing deeply hateful anti-trans federal regulatory changes; and to LGBTQA+ people seeking asylum and other forms of status in this country. We are delighted to expand the work we have done with Garden State Equality into a broader partnership to help ensure trans individuals have meaningful access to the name and gender marker change process.”


A 2015 national survey found that almost one-third of transgender people who showed an identity document with a name or gender marker that conflicted with their perceived gender were harassed, denied benefits or services, discriminated against, or assaulted.


Trans people in New Jersey seeking assistance with legal name changes can fill out this form to secure further assistance from Garden State Equality and its pro bono partners. Garden State Equality encourages other law firms to reach out if they are interested in providing pro-bono assistance to trans residents of New Jersey. There is plenty of work to go around!


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