John Marshall Celebrates International Transgender Visibility Day


Less than a year into the launch of its Transgender Name and Gender Marker Change Project, The John Marshall Law School’s Pro Bono Program & Clinic has helped 43 individuals change their government-issued identification cards to reflect their desired names and gender markers. The law school has helped adults and minors in Cook, DuPage, Will and McLean counties in Illinois with the process.

The Name and Gender Marker Change Project, the first of its kind in Illinois, helps people navigate the maze of local, state and federal laws and rules required to change their names and gender marker on documents like drivers’ licenses, state identification cards, U.S. passports and social security cards.

“Today, on International Transgender Visibility Day, we celebrate the success of our Name and Gender Marker Change Project. The project is another way that our Pro Bono Program & Clinic provides legal services to those in need of our legal assistance, while at the same time offers our students the opportunity to learn the issues affecting our communities and allow students to gain practical legal experience,” said Damian Ortiz, Director of the Pro Bono Program & Clinic at The John Marshall Law School.

John Marshall Law students also are given the opportunity to volunteer at the Transformative Justice Law Project’s monthly name change mobilization clinic at the Daley Center in Chicago. On average, they help 10 to 20 individuals each month.

Only 59 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming people have updated the gender marker on their driver’s licenses or state identification cards, while only 26 percent have updated their passport. A transgender or gender non-conforming person may face humiliation, discrimination and harassment if his or her core identification documents are not corrected to reflect their gender identity but the process to do so can be confusing, time consuming and intimidating.

The Name and Gender Marker Change Project at John Marshall adds to the array of pro bono legal services already offered by the school’s Pro Bono Program & Clinic including housing rights, discrimination complaints, police misconduct and expungements.

To support the work of the Name and Gender Marker Change Project at John Marshall, you can make a gift to the Pro Bono Program & Clinic

If you or anyone you know needs assistance with changing his or her identification on government-issued documents, call the Pro Bono Clinic at (312) 427-2737, ext. 477 or email