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, which includes legal documents, publications, research tools, and “know your rights” 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.
Contact a Legal Service Provider or Immigration Attorney
The U.S. Department of Justice maintains a handy list of pro-bono immigration services by state that can be accessed here.
AIDS Legal Referral Panel, www.alrp.org
1663 Mission Street, Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 701-1100
The ALRP Immigrant HIV Assistance Project (IHAP) provides free immigration legal services to HIV positive immigrants living in San Francisco. IHAP services include assistance with obtaining legal permanent residence (green cards), HIV waivers, political asylum, suspension of deportation, and naturalization.
Asian Law Caucus, www.asianlawcaucus.org
55 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 896-1701
Legal and civil rights organization serving the low-income Asian Pacific American communities in San Francisco & Bay Area region. They offer an immigrants’ rights legal clinic three times a month, and give legal advice to immigrants in removal proceedings.
Asylum Access, www.asylumaccess.org
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 1111
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 891-8700
Asylum Access moves beyond band-aid humanitarian assistance to address the root cause of refugees' needs: denial of rights. They work to make refugee rights a reality in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and specifically focus on Ecuador, Tanzania, and Thailand. They do not provide legal assistance to refugees residing in the United States.
Since 1983, the Lawyers' Committee's Asylum Program has assisted people seeing safety in the United States. The Lawyers' Committee may be able to meet with you to talk about your case and help find you a lawyer for free, or give you a list of lawyers in your area. Everything you say to Lawyers' Committee is confidential and is not shared with anyone without your permission.
ORAM provides much-needed support to refugees around in the world fleeing from persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender. We provide direct representation for a pinpointed set of refugee cases, typically referred to us by our partner organizations based on our expertise on LGBTI issues.
SFILEN works to achieve immigrants’ rights through building grassroots leadership, providing free immigration legal services and comprehensive legal assistance, promoting community education, and organizing to empower the immigrant community. It also offers legal drop-in services (call for an appointment).
A program of the Trauma Recover Center at the University of California, San Francisco, and San Francisco General Hospital, Survivors International is dedicated to providing essential psychological and medical services to survivors of torture who have fled from around the world to the San Francisco Bay Area. Provides no cost clinical care for trauma survivors, including therapy and case management.
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.
Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, www.dhs.gov/office-civil-rights-and-civil-liberties
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Review and Compliance
245 Murray Lane, SW
Building 410, Mail Stop #0190
Washington, DC 20528
Phone: (866) 644-8360
The office is led by the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, who provides advice to the Secretary and the senior officers of the Department on a full range of civil rights and civil liberties issues. Contact this office to file complaints related to immigration detention, racial profiling, inappropriate questioning on entry into the United States, or other civil rights violations.
Immigrant Legal Resource Center, www.ilrc.org
1663 Mission Street, Suite 602
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 255-9499
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national non-profit resource center that provides legal trainings, educational materials, and advocacy to advance immigrant rights. The mission of the ILRC is to work with and educate immigrants, community organizations, and the legal sector to continue to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people.
Immigration Equality, www.immigrationequality.org
40 Exchange Place, Suite 1300
New York, NY 10005
Phone: (212) 714-2904
Toll-Free Phone: (888) 403-9669
A national organization that advocates for the equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and HIV-positive immigrants. They run a pro-bono asylum project, provide trainings to LGBT immigrants about immigration law, and match up people needing legal services with volunteer attorneys. Immigration Equality specifically provide support and resources to transgender and HIV positive individuals, and their website features written resources in English and Spanish about immigration law for transgender and HIV positive people.
Heartland Alliance’s National Immigration Justice Center, www.immigrantjustice.org
208 S. La Salle Street, Suite 1818
Chicago, IL 60604
Phone: (312) 660-1370
The Immigrant Legal Defense Project serves immigrants applying for permanent residence through a family-based application; permanent residents applying for citizenship; immigrants who are victims of domestic violence or violent crime and seek protection in the United States; and victims of international human trafficking. They provide legal consultations for immigrants living in the Chicago area only.
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: (800) 528-6257 (9 am to 5 pm PST)
NCLR provides free legal assistance to LGBT immigrants nationwide. They help individuals understand various aspects of immigration law and provide direct representation to LGBT immigrants in impact cases and individual asylum claims.
National Lawyers Guild’s National Immigration Project, www.nationalimmigrationproject.org
14 Beacon Street, Suite 602
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 227-9727
The National Immigration Project is a national non-profit organization that provides legal and technical support to immigrant communities, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking to advance the rights of noncitizens. The Project is especially committed to working together with people who are marginalized to protect rights and to promote fairness, including battered women, people with HIV/AIDS, children, and noncitizen criminal offenders. Members of the Project include attorneys, law students, judges, jailhouse lawyers, advocates, community organizations, and other individuals seeking to defend and expand the rights of immigrants in the United States.
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. For immigrants, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project may be able to help with name changes, updating immigration documents, naturalization, asylum, and removal defense. 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.