Photo of Elizabeth Pinolini

Elizabeth Pinolini

  • Hosted by Whitman-Walker Health
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school American University Washington College of Law
  • Issue area LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Elizabeth reduced employment barriers for the transgender and gender non-conforming communities in the greater Washington, D.C., area by focusing on community outreach while providing direct services to individuals who are facing discrimination in the workplace, pursuing immigration relief, or updating identity documents.

Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals throughout the United States face an unemployment rate of 15%, which is three times higher than the national average. In Washington, D.C., notwithstanding the Human Rights Act, these communities still face an unemployment rate of 36%, with two-thirds of individuals unable to obtain an identity document with the proper name or gender marker.

Fellowship Highlights

Over the past two years, Elizabeth has worked to increase access to legal services and employment for these communities. They worked with volunteer attorneys to conduct 16 Name and Gender Change Clinics that helped over 350 clients complete name change petitions. They personally served more than 200 clients in need of changing their name, obtaining accurate identity documents, or securing immigration status. Through collaboration with other organizations, Elizabeth trained nearly 400 attorneys or other legal service providers on queer-specific immigration issues, cultural humility, and how to best serve trans and gender non-conforming individuals.

Next Steps

Elizabeth remains at Whitman-Walker Health as a staff attorney, continuing to furthering the goals of their project. In their new role, Elizabeth will also work to help clients access healthcare through obtaining public benefits and health insurance, Social Security benefits, and effective Medicare coverage.


Name & Gender Marker Changes and COVID-19

Stepping Up Efforts to Support LGBTQ+ Clients in the COVID-19 Era

The Most Incredible Way to Start My Legal Career

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