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LGBTQ non-profit 'Diverse & Resilient' raises funds to help transgender people legally change their names and gender markers.

Posted at 12:53 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 20:15:43-04

APPLETON (NBC26) — An Appleton LGBTQ advocacy group has started a fund for transgender people in Northeast Wisconsin to legally change their name and gender markers.

Diverse & Resilient is a non-profit organization that supports LGBTQ individuals who have experienced abuse or sexual violence. They were able to start the fund after after receiving a donation from Dr. Jekyll's bar back in March.

In honor of International Trans Day of Visibility, Dr. Jekyll's started a fundraiser to raise money for transgender customers to be able to change their names. The fundraiser and the GoFundMe that was set up for the cause quickly raised much more than its original goal.

The rest of the money was donated to Diverse & Resilient and the organization was able to set up their own fund to help transgender people afford to have their names and gender markers legally changed. In addition to providing financial support, Diverse & Resilient also has trained advocates who can help transgender people through every step of the legal name-change process.

Advocates say the costliness of the legal-name change process prevents many transgender people from being able to afford to change their names.

"People save up for awhile to be able to do that and a couple hundred dollars is still cost prohibitive for many many people,” said Reiko Ramos, an advocate with Diverse & Resilient.

Aside from being expensive, it’s also difficult to have a name changed confidentially. Name changes are required to be published in a local newspaper, unless an individual can prove there is an "imminent threat."

“It is possible to get a confidential name change," Ramos said. There’s a separate set of forms you fill out for the confidential process and really it’s up to a judge to determine whether or not your situation is an “imminent threat”

Audrey Asteria, who is currently having her name legally changed, says the advocates at Diverse & Resilient have helped get her through the entire process.

"I’m really just hoping to get everything approved by the judge and I can’t wait," Asteria said. "Working somewhere, or out at a bar or anywhere it’s just nice to have that ID to reflect who I am.”