Below is a brief list of resources that may be especially helpful. This collection is only a small representation of transgender-welcoming services in California and the United States. Searching online for additional resources may yield more specific information or assistance. Resources are divided by California-specific organizations, national organizations, and general resources. For ease of use, we have specified whether organizations provide direct or support services, and to what extent they serve the LGBT communities, and specifically, to what extent they serve transgender communities. National Lawyers Guild Interns spoke with representatives of almost all of these organizations to ensure that our description of their services is correct and up-to-date, and that they are explicitly welcoming of transgender community members.
The California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) is a grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison, that challenges the institutional violence imposed on women, transgender people, and communities of color by the prison industrial complex (PIC). They see the struggle for racial and gender justice as central to dismantling the PIC and they prioritize the leadership of the people, families, and communities most impacted in building this movement.
California Prison Focus (CPF) works to abolish the California prison system in its present condition. CPF investigates and exposes human rights abuses with the goal of ending long term isolation, medical neglect, and all forms of discrimination. CPF is a group of community activists, prisoners, and their families educating and inspiring the public to demand change. It also publishes the “Prison Focus” newsletter, written by prisoners, for prisoners.
Founded in 1979, Community United Against Violence (CUAV) works to build the power of LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) communities to transform violence and oppression. We support the healing and leadership of those impacted by abuse and mobilize our broader communities to replace cycles of trauma with cycles of safety and liberation. As part of the larger social justice movement, CUAV works to create truly safe communities where everyone can thrive.
The Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex (TGI) Justice Project is a group of transgender people—inside and outside of prison—creating a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom. They work in collaboration with others to forge a culture of resistance and resilience to strengthen them for the fight against imprisonment, police violence, racism, poverty, and societal pressures. They seek to create a world rooted in self-determination, freedom of expression, and gender justice.
The Transgender Law Center (TLC) is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. TLC provides direct legal services, engages in public policy advocacy and education and works to change laws and systems that fail to incorporate the needs and experiences of transgender people.
American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project, www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Phone: (212) 549-2500
In Northern California: 39 Drumm St, San Francisco, CA, 94111; Phone: 415-621-2493 The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) National Prison Project is dedicated to ensuring that our nation’s prisons, jails, and other places of detention comply with the Constitution, domestic law, and international human rights principles, and to ending the policies that have given the United States the highest incarceration rate in the world. They promote a fair and effective criminal justice system in which incarceration is used only as a last resort, and its purpose is to prepare prisoners for release and a productive, law-abiding life at the earliest possible time.
Center for Constitutional Rights, www.ccrjustice.org
666 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 614-6464
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
Human Rights Coalition Fedup! Pittsburgh Chapter, http://prisonerstories.blogspot.com/
Thomas Merton Center
5129 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Phone: (412) 361-3022, ext. 4
We are a prisoner advocacy group working with prisoners in Philadelphia. We have an extensive abuse log in which we collect evidence and testimony of those incarcerated for public viewing. We have biweekly letter writing nights to send resources to those incarcerated, we educate the public on prison issues through art exhibits and film screenings, and we also conduct research on prison related issues. We are looking to broaden the base of prisoners they communicate with.
Just Detention International, www.justdetention.org
3325 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 340
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Phone: (213) 384-1400
Note: If you are incarcerated, please feel free to communicate with JDI using legal mail, addressing your correspondence to:
Cynthia Totten, Esq.
CA Attorney Reg. #199266
3325 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 340
Los Angeles, CA 90010
All of Just Detention International’s (JDI) work takes place within the framework of international human rights laws. The sexual assault of detainees, whether committed by corrections staff or by inmates, is a crime and is recognized internationally as a form of torture. JDI is concerned about the safety and well-being of all detainees, including those held in adult prisons and jails, juvenile facilities, immigration detention centers, and police lock-ups, whether run by government agencies or by private corporations on behalf of the government. JDI has three core goals for its work: to ensure government accountability for prisoner rape; to transform ill-informed public attitudes about sexual violence in detention; and to promote access to resources for those who have survived this form of abuse.
National Center for Lesbian Rights, www.nclrights.org
870 Market Street, Suite 370
San Francisco, CA 94102
Legal Helpline: (415) 392-6257 (9 am to 5 pm PST)
Toll Free Helpline: (800) 528-6257 (9 am to 5 pm PST)
Legal Helpline request form: www.nclrights.org/site/PageServer?pagename=legal_getHelp_whatwecando
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) helps LGBT individuals and families nationwide through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. NCLR offers a legal helpline during regular business hours, and the best way to request assistance is by filling out an online help form on NCLR's website. NCLR provides referrals, assistance locating LGBT-aware attorneys, and offers limited direct services.
National Center for Transgender Equality, www.transequality.org
1325 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 903-0112
Fax: (202) 393-2241
The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.
The National Police Accountability Project (NPAP), a project of the National Lawyers Guild, is a non-profit organization of plaintiff's lawyers, law students and legal workers. NPAP is dedicated to ending police abuse of authority through coordinated legal action, public education, and support for grassroots and victims' organizations combating police misconduct.
Sylvia Rivera Law Project, www.srlp.org
147 West 24th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10011
Phone/Legal Helpline: (212) 337-8550
SRLP provides free legal services to transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming low-income people and people of color in the New York area. SRLP provides advice and referral for a wide variety of legal issues. Sometimes, they can also provide more help, such as advocacy, help with a case you are bringing on your own, or, more rarely, representation in a legal action.
TIG Prisoner Pen Pal Project
P.O. Box 1122
Portland, OR, 97211
TIG Prisoner Pen Pal Project is a list for transgender, intersexed, genderqueer, and gender-variant prisoners to find pen pals for support and friendship. Please send a brief posting about yourself, your contact information, and any regulations in your institution (no mail from other prisoners, etc). It can take a long time to match interested people with pen pals, so please be patient.
Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois provides free, zealous, life-affirming, and gender-affirming holistic criminal legal services to low-income and street based transgender and gender non-conforming people targeted by the criminal legal system in Illinois.
Tranzmission Prison Project is a volunteer run organization that works to support LGBTQQIA (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) prisoners nationwide. They offer books, zines, information, resources and pen pals. They fully believe that every member of our fabulous community deserves access to support. As allies, they strive to let incarcerated LGBTQQIA folks know that just because they are out of sight does not mean they are out of mind.