Three years ago, Susan Livingston and her husband used TLC’s “ID Please!” to help their daughter legally change her name and gender marker on all of her identity documentation. “We were so grateful for the work that had already been done by TLC, which provided a resource guide that included a roadmap to execute identity documentation changes. I knew that I wanted to give back to the organization that had already given to us as a family,” Susan says about her inspiration to join TLC as a volunteer.
A former lawyer and mother of three young adults, she began working with TLC once a week, starting November 2016. Her first day was, remarkably, the day after the 2016 Presidential election. “I will never forget the call to action that I felt. The incoming questions to the Legal Helpline were voluminous and I got to work helping people.”
Initially, Susan thought her support for the Legal Helpline would focus on helping young adults who did not have the support of their families to help them with ID document changes. “To my surprise, I have worked on issues for young adults, but also parents of minors, and many retired people who have lived many years without legal name and gender marker changes and now want to travel and need a passport.” Her thorough, dedicated efforts have been so vital to TLC because she helps expand our capacity to help people live their most authentic lives.
When asked what the best part of her work at TLC has been, she answers with the same passion that makes her invaluable to our communities: “The people that I have met on staff at TLC and the good feeling that I have by answering so many inquiries on the Legal Helpline that have hopefully given people the courage to make a change. The issues can be complicated and it feels good to provide a service to help people live authentic lives. And when a client writes back with a ‘thank you for being there,’ you can’t help but feel elated.”
We asked Susan what her advice would be to people looking to support the lives of trans people, especially in this political climate.
“Yes, everyone is busy, but my advice is to find some time to volunteer for TLC or any other organization that supports trans liberation. Giving just a few hours a week can make a difference in people’s lives. At the end of the day, you go home feeling proud of what you accomplish on behalf of others.”