Transgender Name and Gender Change Clinic Helps 119 Clients


UCI Law is pleased to announce the Transgender Name and Gender Change Clinic helped serve 119 clients during the first fifteen months since it began. 

UCI Law students, with the assistance of lead supervising attorney Stephen T. Hicklin, Esq. and other volunteer attorneys, assist with applications for name changes and identity marker changes for clients of the LGBT Center Orange County in Santa Ana.

“Following the election, the level of anxiety within the transgender community increased substantially, resulting in a large influx of legal questions to our clinic,” said Zackory T. Burns (2L), co-student leader of the clinic. “We increased our clinic’s capacity to assist more than twice as many people. As a team, I am proud that we were able to respond to our community’s increased urgency with more volunteers and extended hours.”

In addition to name and gender marker changes, UCI Law students assist with other legal issues that arise, such as immigration and employment discrimination. The Clinic previously met every other month, but will begin meeting monthly in 2017.

“I am really proud at how big the clinic has grown and having served so many clients from across Southern California in the past year,” said Helen Boyer (2L), co-student leader. “It’s fun because our clients are excited to be there. In many other settings, clients seek legal help because something bad happened to them; here, clients are coming to the clinic in a happy time in their lives.”

“This partnership with the UC Irvine School of Law has been a blessing for such a marginalized community that needed a break like this,” said Dannie Cesena, Trans* Services Coordinator at the LGBT Center OC. “Every client that I speak with after their visit to the clinic are grateful and cannot stop thanking us. I am constantly inundated with excited phone calls and e-mails on how their name/gender change went through and how it couldn't be possible without our help.”

“I was surprised and grateful that the attorneys and students were there to not only advise, but actually do the paperwork for us,” said Carrie Murphy, the mother of a client at the Clinic. “They commented it was the first time they had supplied assistance for a minor and they felt honored to do so. I applaud the Center for offering such a valuable service to the community and I am truly grateful.”

“The best part about becoming an attorney is that you do not have to check your identity in at the door,” Burns said. “As an openly gay male, I wanted to work in this clinic to be an ally to my community through ensuring free access to legal advice, giving a voice to those within my community who often don’t feel as though they have one.”