Michigan State research project partners with non-profit to fund legal name, gender marker changes

MSU’s “Trans-ilience” lab partners with Allen Neighborhood Center to create the “Gender Affirmation Project.”

The Gender Affirmation Project hopes to support “trans and nonbinary people” seeking to legally change their name and/or gender marker on identification documents.

A Michigan State University research team says it will fund social transitions for transgender people.

Michigan State’s “Trans-ilience” lab has partnered with Allen Neighborhood Center, a Lansing community non-profit organization, to establish the “Gender Affirmation Project.” The Gender Affirmation Project will “offer logistical and financial support to trans and nonbinary people seeking legal gender affirmation through name and/or gender marker changes,” Michigan State’s Department of Psychology said in a press release.  

Michigan State stated the project “aims to make the path toward gender affirmation more accessible,” and will financially support legal name and/or gender changes to a Michigan state license or birth certificate. Individuals must be at least 18 years old to be eligible. 

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“We developed this partnership because of community needs, as well as research documenting the importance of legal gender affirmation for health outcomes,” the Director of Trans-ilience Dr. Jae Puckett told Michigan State University. “When trans and nonbinary people legally affirm their gender, they report reduced suicidality, depression, and anxiety, as well as less exposure to harassment and violence.”  

Puckett is an Assistant Professor at MSU and researches “experiences of stigma and marginalization encountered by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and the negative health outcomes of prejudice using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods approaches.”

“Trans-ilience,” the Transgender Stress and Resilience Research Team, focuses on “supporting the health and well-being of transgender and gender diverse communities by contributing to positive social change through research and advocacy.” Additionally, the organization provides “educational presentations” on topics such as “Basic Terminology and Pronouns” and “Transgender Inclusion in Athletics”.  

Allen Neighborhood Center provides the Lansing community with “resources to improve their health and well-being; expand their capacity to seize job and entrepreneurial opportunities; create a strong sense of place, belonging, and community pride; and build a safe, sustainable, and thriving neighborhood.” 

“We believe that the affirmation of one’s identity should be a positive experience, and the reality is that navigating the legal process to change your name and/or gender marker is anything but,” Kat Logan, Associate Director at Allen Neighborhood Center, told Michigan State. “Our hope is that by helping fill out the forms and paying for the process, this path toward gender affirmation will be more accessible.”  

The “Trans-ilience” lab also regularly receives federal funding for its research into trans issues. Currently, the National Institutes Of Health is funding a study to develop “measures of stress and resilience that accurately reflect the lived experiences of transgender and gender diverse people,” and another “large multi-phase” study on transgender medical “resilience,” 

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Last month, The University of California Riverside (UCR) released a “Trans-guide” with a resource called a “Gender Recognition and Lived Name” policy to educate students on transgender issues such as “Lived/Preferred Names” and “Gender-inclusive” housing and restrooms, as reported by Campus Reform

Campus Reform reached out to all relevant parties for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.