Thursday, 29 January 2009

Groundbreaking legal guide to assist transgender immigrants to the US

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has released the first immigration law practice manual for attorneys representing transgender clients. Immigration Law and the Transgender Client, co-authored by Immigration Equality and the Transgender Law Center (TLC), provides practical advice and information to assist attorneys representing transgender immigrants.

"We are proud to publish this groundbreaking manual dealing with the intersection of two dynamic areas of law - transgender civil rights and immigration law," said AILA Publications Director Tatia L.

Gordon-Troy. AILA is the national association of over 11,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law.

"Every day we hear from transgender immigrants who face incredibly complicated legal issues. From obtaining corrected identity documents, to fighting for marriage recognition, to seeking asylum to escape persecution, transgender immigrants need well-trained legal counsel," said Victoria Neilson, Legal Director of Immigration Equality.

Transgender immigrants often face overwhelming legal issues, and all too often the attorneys who want to help them, just lack the resources they need. Immigration Law and the Transgender Client addresses unique issues faced by transgender immigrants and those in bi-national relationships, including identity documents, asylum, detention, and marriage-based petitions.

"This area of the law is so specialized that LGBT civil rights attorneys often lack the immigration expertise to properly advise transgender immigrants, and immigration practitioners lack the cultural competence and understanding of transgender legal issues to adequately represent these clients," said TLC Legal Director Kristina Wertz. "The immigration practice manual seeks to close that gap."

Edited by Neilson, the manual provides an unprecedented resource for attorneys seeking information about the unique needs and issues faced by transgender clients.

"Victoria Neilson's expertise in this field is now more accessible to immigration attorneys and will foster a new cadre of attorneys with similar expertise," said Gordon-Troy.

Immigration Law and the Transgender Client can be purchased from the American Immigration Lawyers Association at for $69 ($49 for AILA members). An online version can be accessed at

Immigration Equality is a national organization that works to end discrimination in U.S. immigration law, to reduce the negative impact of that law on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or HIV-status.

The Transgender Law Center (TLC) is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. TLC uses direct legal services, education, community organizing, and advocacy to transform California into a state that recognizes and supports the needs of transgender people and their families.
Transgender Law Center and Immigration Equality would like to thank The Arcus Gay and Lesbian Fund for their support of this project.


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