danielTransgender Law Center is thrilled to welcome the return of Daniel Faessler to our team. Daniel was previously a Brooklyn Law School post-graduate bridge fellow with the organization and will return to provide legal and advocacy services to low-income transgender people in the Bay Area, with a focus on serving those who are most marginalized. He has been awarded the Tom Steel Fellowship by Pride Law Fund, an organization that provided Transgender Law Center the initial grant that allowed the organization to launch in 2002.

“I am honored and humbled to be awarded the Pride Law Fund Tom Steel Fellowship and build upon Transgender Law Center’s efforts to advance the rights of the transgender and gender non-conforming community. As a fluent Spanish speaker and the son of an immigrant, my hope is to reach and provide legal services to our most vulnerable community members, particularly people of color and non-English speakers,” said Daniel.

Daniel received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and his B.A. in Language Studies from U.C. Santa Cruz. While a law student, he interned at South Brooklyn Legal Services and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in New York City. He spent his first and second summers of law school clerking at Bay Area Legal Aid where he worked on domestic violence and Social Security disability cases. During his second year of law school, he also interpreted Spanish for an asylum case in which a trans woman fled to the United States due to persecution in her home country of Mexico. As a bridge fellow at Transgender Law Center, Daniel has assisted community members with employment, insurance, and public accommodations discrimination; name and gender changes; and obtaining appropriate identification.

Tamara Zakim, Co-Chair of the Pride Law Fund Board of Directors, said, “Pride Law Fund is very excited to award its 2014-2015 Tom Steel Fellowship to Daniel Faessler and his Transgender Poverty Project. Daniel will be providing vital outreach and advocacy services to trans folks, in particular trans folks of color and the Spanish-speaking trans community. Pride Law Fund provided the seed money to establish Transgender Law Center itself, awarding founder Chris Daley a Tom Steel Fellowship in 2001, so we are thrilled to support a new fellow building on that work.”

Pride Law Fund promotes the legal rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and people living with HIV and AIDS, by funding interns who provide legal services and work on special projects at non-profit organizations across the country. In 2001, Pride Law Fund launched the Tom Steel Fellowship, one of the first year-long fellowships on LGBT issues in the nation, to fund a recent law school graduate for an innovative, public interest law project. The Steel Fellowship helps the next generation of legal advocates for the LGBT community to develop the critical skills necessary to secure civil rights into the future.

Transgender Law Center Legal Director Ilona Turner said, “We couldn’t be happier to be welcoming Daniel Faessler to the team at Transgender Law Center. We’re incredibly grateful for this reaffirmation of Pride Law Fund’s longstanding support for our work. Daniel’s project will significantly expand the legal services available to the local trans community, and will help build the long-term capacity of legal aid organizations, attorneys, and law students in the Bay Area and across the country to assist low-income transgender people with their most critical legal needs.”

Transgender Law Center, with its headquarters in Oakland and San Francisco, is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to advancing the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people. TLC takes a multidisciplinary approach to its work, including impact litigation, policy advocacy, public education, and a legal helpline that serves nearly 2,500 people each year. Daniel joins the staff of 14, including UCLAW Fellow Shawn Meerkamper and Soros Justice Fellow Olga Tomchin.