Queens Transgender woman files lawsuit against city

The Queens Chronicle
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December 14, 2012

A Long Island City woman filed the city’s second transgender discrimination case this year against the New York City agency that handles food stamps and other benefits on Nov. 20. Jolie Estrella, 25, who wished to keep her born name anonymous, brought an official change of name form in November 2011 to the Human Resources Administration East River Job Center. The document, issued by the state the previous May, must be brought to the HRA for Estrella to change her name in their database. She also had with her the correct documents needed to change her gender marker, according to her lawyer Richard Saenz, staff attorney with LGBT Advocacy Project at Queens Legal Services. Legal sex designations, also called gender markers, are the M for male and F for female found on many government- issued identification cards. Without the correct name she could not access government-issued benefits. “They were bewildered,” Estrella said of her visit. “One of the girls was confused and didn’t know what to do. She went to a supervisor, or a coworker, someone who she respected. He accused me of having fraudulent documents.”