*Names are changed to protect the identity of the client.
The DC Bar Foundation is proud to fund DC legal services organizations that support and uplift marginalized communities. One of those organizations is Whitman-Walker Health (WWH), whose mission is to offer affirming community-based health and wellness services to all with expertise in LGBTQ and HIV care. Through multiple locations throughout DC, WWH provides stigma-free care to anyone who walks through their doors so they may feel supported, welcomed, and respected.
In 2021, the Foundation awarded Whitman-Walker Health an Access to Justice grant to provide legal services for discrimination claims and access to benefits for transgender individuals. One of those individuals is Iris*, a transgender Latinx woman and Ward 7 resident, who came to WWH to obtain a court order to update her identity documents to align with her name and gender identity.
WWH attorneys assisted Iris with completing her DC name change application, fee waiver application, and motion to seal her name change case. Iris feared harm from being outed as trans via the court’s online case search platform. After WWH assisted Iris with navigating the court’s complicated e-filing system, she secured her fee waiver, and the court approved both her name change application and motion to seal.
However, when WWH attorneys checked the status of her case online, they found that her motion to seal in its entirety was available, thereby revealing her sensitive and private information to the public. WWH attorneys immediately advocated with court clerks to remove the motion to seal from the internet the same day.
WWH continues to work with Iris to complete her application obligations. Iris looks forward to obtaining her name change order and continuing her identity documentation update journey.