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SRLP Fall 2014 Newsletter!

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Transgender Healthcare is Good for New York!

SRLP demands transition-related healthcare coverage for low-income New Yorkers

On June 19, SRLP, the Legal Aid Society, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP filed a federal class action lawsuit against the NY State Department of Health to overturn the Medicaid regulation barring transition-related healthcare on the grounds that it is discriminatory, unconstitutional, and violates the Affordable Care Act.

The news broke in the Associated Press, and the following week, Democracy Now! highlighted our critical work in an interview with SRLP Staff Attorney Pooja Gehi and Angie Cruz, an SRLP community member and a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Thousands of people saw the video, putting increased pressure on the state to overturn this discriminatory exclusion. It was an exciting moment for all of us at SRLP! Democracy Now! 6-25-14

But right now, SRLP community members are still unable to access routine and essential healthcare related to gender transition, such as hormones and surgery, because they are transgender. The same healthcare that is withheld from transgender people is provided to non-transgender people on a routine basis, such as the provision of birth control for non-transgender women and many forms of breast surgery, including mastectomy or breast augmentation.

This discrepancy is unjust, discriminatory, and dangerous. Transition-related healthcare is medically necessary and life-saving.

SRLP demands trans healthcare now!When transgender people have the healthcare they need, their overall mental health improves, suicide rates drop dramatically, and they have higher rates of housing and employment. When transgender New Yorkers are safe and able to meet their basic needs, our community is stronger, healthier, and more able to organize for transformative change. Transgender healthcare is good for the SRLP community and good for New York!

Online, in the media, and in the streets, you’ve made it possible for us to come this far. Thank you for your commitment to trans lives!

– Reina Gossett, SRLP Director of Membership, and Elana Redfield, SRLP Staff Attorney & Director of the Survival and Self-Determination Project

Join us in Welcoming Juana Peralta and Rage Kidvai to SRLP!

Juana Paola PeraltaWe are thrilled to announce that two new staff members have joined SRLP this fall. Rage Kidvai has been awarded a twRage Kidvaio-year Equal Justice Works/Paul Rapoport Law Fellowship to work on providing asylum and deportation defense services for low-income transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex immigrants. Juana Peralta will be joining us as SRLP’s Director of Outreach and Engagement to continue building power and resilience in our community.

Please join us in welcoming Juana and Rage!

SRLP Supporter Highlights!

R. “Rabi” Cepeda, SRLP Prisoner Advisory Committee Member & Participating Artist in SRLP’s Annual Art Benefit, Small Works for Big Change

I was so excited to hear that Small Works for Big Change went so well! Over $26,000 raised is amazing! The pictures I saw were wonderful aRobert Cepeda 1nd so appreciated. To see not only my artwork, but all the others displayed and the large participation of attendees, shows how many people are willing to fight against the injustices faced by the transgender community, and willing to help the movement grow in great ways.

It brought a smile to my face that my SRLP comic book cover sold so well… 90 BUCKS!!! WOW! I have a whole series of comic strips and comic books, including my original “Queer Wars,” which I hope to one day get published.

Thank you for sharing this night with me. Thank you to the people who purchased my art. And my deepest thanks to the whole SRLP team for continuing to be such a positive motivating force for me.

Bill Hibsher, SRLP Donor & Pro Bono Legal Volunteer

I met staff and collective members of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project at a fundraiser last fall hosted by Michael Harrell and Urvashi Vaid. I was struck by the organization’s mission, and the energy and focus of staff and supporters. I was also mindful of the fact that, though I had litigated LGBT cases over the years and served on boards of several LGBT organizations, my experience with the “T” was limited. Impressed and inspired, I followed up with SRLP staff to learn more and offer my help.

Bill HibsherI invited SRLP staff attorney Alisha Williams to meet with and train myself and several associate attorneys at Bryan Cave to assist transgender people in New York State prisons with name change petitions. We have met with several clients in multiple correctional facilities, and our cases are in various stages of progress.

I believe that the struggle for transgender rights is at the cutting edge of our civil rights movement and that we have much work, even within the LGBT community, to raise awareness of this common struggle. It is an honor to give to SRLP with financial contributions in addition to these much-needed services to support the most vulnerable members of our community. I look forward to continuing to work and grow with this vital organization.

Join us at the SRLP Attorneys and Advocates Awards!

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Learn more about the event and purchase your tickets at

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