Our client is a trans woman who dropped out of school at an early age. With almost no employment options, she turned to sex work as her only means to support herself. She was arrested and incarcerated frequently. She was afraid to ask for help because she was afraid of how people would treat her. She was frequently misgendered and dreaded the humiliation. She lived with a lot of anxiety about being herself out in the world.
She developed several health problems, some of which necessitated intensive medical treatment. She came to the AIDS Law Project looking for help. She knew that in order for her to get benefits, she would have to appear for a hearing. She knew that her medical records indicated her sex assigned at birth, not her gender identity. She was concerned that the court would question her identity because of the misgendering in her medical records. We tried our best to reassure her as we prepared her case for a hearing.
At the hearing, we presented the evidence to prove the client was disabled. To explain the inconsistencies in the medical records about her gender, we advised the judge that the client is a trans woman. This conversation enabled him to have greater insight for this client and hopefully for other transgender claimants in the future. It did not take the judge long to rule in the client’s favor.
The client is relieved that she now has financial stability and health insurance, and didn’t have to betray her gender identity in order to get it.