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 is reducing employment barriers for the transgender and gender non-conforming communities in the greater Washington, DC 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, DC, the unemployment rate is 36%, with two-thirds of these communities unable to obtain an ID with the proper name or gender.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past year, Elizabeth has:

  • Worked to expand the number and kind of clinics offered at Whitman-Walker Health and expanded on their name and gender change practice
  • Secured court ordered name changes for 65 clients and helped 45 of them to update most or all of their ID documents
  • Helped to organize an Asylum Clinic to perform 15 immigration consults for LGBTQ+ caravan members and since then we have secured pro bono representation for each of them
  • Coordinated and presented a panel on “Traveling while Trans” to more than 175 attendees at the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference
  • Worked with four students from Georgetown Law’s Iron Tech Lawyers program to develop a web-based application to help people easily and conveniently generate DC name change petitions
  • Conducted 5 trainings on cultural competency, serving LGBTQ+ immigrants, and name changes, and spoken to 2 support groups about name changes and affirming trans or gender non-conforming children

Next Steps

In the next year, Elizabeth plans to:

  • Collaborate with the DC Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association to coordinate a Naturalization Clinic at Whitman-Walker Health in honor of Citizenship Day on September 14, 2019
  • Expand our name and gender change services by creating or improving on template court documents such as motions to seal and establish a formal structure to place cases with volunteer attorneys
  • Provide name and gender change services or brief advice to at least 75 additional clients
  • Recruit co-panelists to develop a proposal to be submitted to 3 conferences in 2020 that discusses options to combat unemployment


The Most Incredible Way to Start My Legal Career

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