HRC Blog

Effectively Advocating for Transgender People’s Families

This Guest Post comes from Elizabeth E. Monnin-Browder, co-editor of Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy, and former GLAD staff attorney:

Family law implicates some of our most intimate and important relationships.  Negotiating legal resolutions to family issues – ending marriages or other long term relationships, protecting parentage, advocating for children’s rights, or ensuring that posthumous intentions are respected, to name a few – when the people involved are under the stress and strain of often painful, major life changes is a high stakes endeavor.

The stakes are even higher for transgender people and their families. You are particularly vulnerable in family courts due to a lack of legal protections and recognition; ignorance about the reality of your lives; bias, discrimination, and even outright hostility. You are not just at risk of being treated badly – although that definitely happens far too often – but you are also at risk of your family relationships not being recognized and even being nullified for no other reason than that you are transgender.

Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy aims to help reverse the trend of injustice that transgender people encounter in the family court system. It’s a user-friendly tool to educate lawyers so they will be more confident and skillful in advocating for your rights. Any transgender person who is planning a family, navigating the dissolution of a relationship or a custody dispute, asserting their rights as a transgender youth, or otherwise seeking to protect their rights and those of their families should give their attorney a copy of Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy.

I’m thrilled that Transgender Family Law includes contributions from some of this country’s most well-respected experts on transgender legal rights – folks like my co-editor Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project; Kylar Broadus, a founding board member of the Transgender Law and Policy Center; and Shannon Price Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Deborah Wald, who chairs NCLR’s National Family Law Advisory Council (to name just a few).

Until the law and our legal system catches up with the lived experiences of transgender people, it’s our hope that Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy can help you and your attorney more effectively navigate the family court system to best protect your rights and your most cherished family relationships.

For more information or to purchase a copy of Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy visit

Elizabeth Monnin-Browder is now a litigation associate at the Boston office of Ropes & Gray LLP.  She was previously a staff attorney at GLAD, and she is a former member of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and a founding member of Massachusetts Transgender Legal Advocates.

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