DRW staff and interns stand outside Evergreen District Courthouse in Monroe, Washington (left to right: A.D. Sean Lewis, Heather McKimmie, Tommy Statkiewicz, and Danny Waxwing).

This summer, DRW’s AVID Program and Trans in Prison Justice Project were proud to be selected as the host for the 2019 QLAW Sher Kung Summer Fellowship. We welcomed Tommy Statkiewicz to the team and he got to work right away on a big project – providing legal representation for 9 transgender clients to be able to access legal name changes while incarcerated.

For many transgender people, access to a legal name change can be critical, as ID documents impact so many facets of our lives, like access to housing, employment, education, and safety in day-to-day interactions. For trans people who are incarcerated, access to a legal name change can be an important act of self-determination, with positive impacts on mental health as well as the logistics of navigating re-entry. In Snohomish County, prisoners cannot access a legal name change by themselves, but DRW was proud to support Tommy as he successfully represented all 9 clients.

There are many more trans prisoners who need legal support to be able to access this important affirmation of their identities, but we’re grateful to our clients, Tommy, and QLAW for a successful partnership this summer!