Dear Members of Massachusetts Transgender Communities,
We write to let you know that the last transgender free legal clinic was on August 9, 2012 provided by the Massachusetts Transgender Legal Advocates (MTLA). MTLA was conceived of five years ago and was originally a partnership between the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC) and TransCEND. For the last few years it has been a partnership between the MTPC, AAC and the Transgender Clinic at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. MTLA has used the energy and skills of volunteer law students and attorneys to meet the legal needs of low income transgender people in Massachusetts. Whether working on a simple name change or a complex lawsuit, MTLA has always done what it could to work with each individual client to work toward the best outcome we could.
Unfortunately, August 9 was our last clinic and our last day taking on new cases and clients. MTLA volunteers will continue to work with our existing clients until their cases are resolved. We believe that meeting the needs of low income transgender people in Massachusetts is a crucial project and that it is time for us to step aside, hopefully to make room for a project that has more resources and infrastructure. This was not a sudden decision, but a slow realization that we do not have the resources or infrastructure needed to meet our goals. As you may have noticed, for over a year, we have nearly stopped advertising the clinic as a way of reducing the caseload to a manageable number of cases. We want to step aside and make room for an organization that can come in and can advertise so that every transgender person in Massachusetts can become aware that legal help is available when they need it and can get help with their legal needs. We just do not have the ability to do that. It has been a difficult decision to shut our doors, but we think it is the right one. Transgender communities deserve the best, most well-resourced legal services available. Individually and as a group, we are committed supporting whatever organization comes after us that may be better to meet the needs of low income transgender people. To those who have been clients of ours, we thank you for giving us the opportunity to fight with you and for you over the years and we thank you for sharing with us a piece of your lives. For those who have provided help, whether it was helping to set up an event or giving a friend a ride to the clinic, we thank you, too. We could not have done it without you.
Thank you again for five great years,
Volunteers of MTLA
MTPC note: If your law firm or legal clinic is interested in filling this much needed gap, please contact MTPC’s executive director, Gunner Scott, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-778-0519