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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Member Spotlight: ArTEC

Legal Resources for Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition

The Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ArTEC) is one of the youngest organizations in NCTE’s Trans Legal Services Network. ArTEC launched in February 2014 through the efforts of a small but dedicated group of advocates in Arkansas. ArTEC’s mission is to advance equality, justice and inclusiveness for transgender and gender non-conforming Arkansans. Over the past year ArTEC advocates have organized a variety of important events and initiatives, including holding a series of community town halls, building a directory of culturally competent service providers, and transporting 14 people to Washington to participate in NCTE’s Transgender Lobby Day.

NCTE launched the Trans Legal Services Network in 2013 to build the capacity of organizations such as ArTEC who are serving the legal needs of trans communities across the country. The Network provides practical advice, technical support and legal resources to strengthen the work of our Network members. Through monthly phone calls, listserv conversations, and individualized support the Network serves to improve and expand name and gender change services and other legal services available to trans people nationwide. In order to help Network organizations like ArTEC have the legal tools they need to thrive, NCTE also launched the Trans Legal Services Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is comprised of law firms committed to taking on pro bono projects to help Network organizations build the legal resources they need to do their work.

NCTE is currently working with ArTEC on two important legal projects. ArTEC decided to apply for 501c3 status so they can file taxes and collect donations as a nonprofit organization. Advisory Council member Hogan Lovells offered up a few of their excellent tax lawyers to work on ArTEC’s 501c3 application project pro bono, with NCTE serving as project manager. Applying for 501c3 nonprofit status can be a long and complicated legal process, and we are grateful for the expertise and generosity of the Hogan Lovells team.

NCTE’s second project with ArTEC and the Advisory Council is a Name and Gender Change Guide for Arkansas. Advisory Council member Squire Patton Boggs has taken on pro bono the challenge of creating a comprehensive guide for Arkansans, with NCTE serving as project manager. The guide will detail the legal name change process in various jurisdictions in Arkansas, and the subsequent steps of updating your name and gender with Social Security, on your state license or ID, on your birth certificate, and/or on your passport. This information is crucial in helping transgender Arkansans navigate the complicated name and gender change process, and will used by ArTEC members and volunteers to facilitate name and gender change services across the state.

We thank ArTEC, Hogan Lovells, and Squire Patton Boggs for their dedication to serving trans communities in Arkansas!

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