The Trans ID Clinic sessions will provide trans and gender-diverse folks in Greater Victoria with free legal advice. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

The Trans ID Clinic sessions will provide trans and gender-diverse folks in Greater Victoria with free legal advice. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Trans ID Clinics provide folks with pro bono legal advice

Free info sessions for people looking to change their name, gender marker on their identification

The Trans ID Clinic in Greater Victoria is offering free information sessions for trans and gender-diverse folks looking to change their name and gender marker on their provincial and federal identity documents.

Four sessions were scheduled beginning in the fall of 2019 and continuing in the new year. The first session took place on Oct. 28.

The first session was fully booked and folks who dropped in were directed to one of the other sessions set to take place Nov. 21, Jan. 27 and Feb. 20, explained Bobbi Turner, executive director at Island Sexual Health.

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Attendees are given pro bono legal advice from volunteer law students from the University of Victoria, the Pro Bono Students Association (PBSA) and from lawyers from Blakes Vancouver. The lawyers provide information that will help the attendees to obtain government issued identification that correctly reflects their chosen name and their gender identity.

The Blakes lawyers are there to assist with the process but the clinics are entirely student run, Blakes lawyer Eleni Kassaris emphasized. The initiative started in Toronto – where Blakes also has a firm. The students from the PBSA coached the Blakes lawyers on the goals of the clinic and how best to assist the attendees, Kassaris said.

She explained that there’s a lot of bureaucracy involved in the identification change process and the Blakes lawyers are happy to help clear the path forward. She hopes to see support for the program grow locally.

Island Sexual Health clinic and the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) each agreed to host two of the sessions.

“We’re thrilled to be involved,” Turner said.

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She noted that many of the attendees were clients who use the Island Sexual Health clinic, but that members of the Greater Victoria community were encouraged to attend as well.

The Nov. 21 session and the Feb. 20 session takes place at the Central Branch of the GVPL at 735 Broughton St. The Jan. 27 session runs at the Island Sexual Health clinic at 101-3960 Quadra Street.

The clinics run from 5 to 8 p.m. and folks are asked to email pbsctransid@uvic.ca to make an appointment as space is limited.

For more information, visit the Trans ID Clinic Facebook page.


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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com