Our team at TLC does what it takes to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.
We know it can be absolutely daunting (and overwhelming) to see the anti-trans attacks flooding our timelines. Some might say you need a degree or a bunch of money to really make an impact.
We’re here to show you that there is another way to help: volunteer! That’s right. By giving your time to organizations on the frontlines of trans rights you become part of the solution.
Volunteers make our work possible. We’re extremely grateful for their hard work and dedication and want to share their stories with you.
Gina has been a volunteer with TLC for more than two years, and in that time has made a tremendous impact on the organization and the lives of transgender people across the country. She joined our Detention Project, which works to end the abuses transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people experience in prisons, jails, immigration detention, state hospitals, and other forms of detention, and at the hands of law enforcement.
“I knew I wanted to get involved after attending SPARK! (the yearly TLC fundraiser) for the first time,” said Gina. “Seeing a group of mostly transgender and gender-nonconforming people working together to make things better is incredibly inspiring.”
As a volunteer, Gina read and responded to letters from detained individuals, providing them with appropriate information, resources, and referrals. For many months, she was the only person working on answering prison mail.
It didn’t take long for her to notice a trend.
“I discovered how time consuming it is to read each letter, summarize it, properly file it and write a helpful response.”
Gina developed a set of templates that volunteers could choose from and adapt to fit most situations, allowing TLC to answer all letter writers despite limited resources.
Her efforts were quickly noticed by the TLC staff.
“I admire Gina’s vision, creativity, commitment and consistency. She is savvy, tenacious, strategic and a a joy to work with,” said TLC Legal Director Flor Bermudez.
Once TLC found a group of Northeastern University students to help respond to prison mail, Gina helped develop the process by which TLC could share scanned letters with the students and get responses back to print out and send to people in prison. While the program has since expanded to many more remote volunteers and Gina is less involved with prison mail, the same process is still being used.
Flor adds, “Gina’s innovative and dedicated work has made a huge difference in the lives of so many transgender people, and in the efficiency and creativity of TLC’s legal department as a whole.”
Gina’s true passion has been her work visiting prisoners in jail and state prisons and interviewing them. While the primary goal is to gather information that could be used to inform legal strategies and legal actions, it also helps TLC to build community with people.
In addition to three visits to the San Francisco jail, she has visited two state prisons. The second visit she organized and led four law clerks.
“We interviewed 12 prisoners all together. I also helped organize a third prison visit where six more prisoners were interviewed.”
Gina continues to work on a potential case related to lessons learned during those visits.
“I am proud to have met and spoken to people who have been written off by most of our society,” she said. “I am proud to have listened to their stories and to have made a personal connection with them.”
Inspired by Gina’s Story?
Volunteer with TLC’s Detention Project and help improve policies and conditions for TGNC people.
Get started at https://transgenderlawcenter.org/volunteer.