Microgrants

Microgrants provide trans and nonbinary people with low-barrier funds and support to correct names and/or gender markers on identifying legal documents, and supply necessities for our trans siblings behind bars.

$901,137

$635,445

given to trans people for IDs

$102,954

$347,296

given to incarcerated trans people

$102,954

Name Change Microgrants

Open the 1st-14th of every month

1-4 Weeks

Approximate Name Change Microgrant processing time (upon selection)

Get Reminded

via email when the next Name Change Microgrant cycle opens and closes (subscribe here)

Types of Microgrants

Funding for:

  • Court ordered legal name and/or gender marker change
  • Passport
  • Driver’s license or state ID
  • Tribal ID

Eligibility:

  • Identify as trans and/or nonbinary
  • Be a US resident
  • Not have received a Name Change Microgrant before

How to apply:

We are not able to offer assistance for:

  • Birth certificates in most situations
  • Housing
  • Medical costs
  • Non-US residents & non-US documents

Details:

  • Open from the 1st through the 14th of each month
  • Lottery system (applications selected randomly from the pool each month)
  • An average of 55 grants distributed per month
  • Amount disbursed covers full cost of local court and document fees
  • 75% of Microgrants each cycle are reserved for trans BIPOC

Funding for:

  • Commissary money for trans people who are incarcerated

Eligibility:

  • Identify as trans and/or nonbinary
  • Currently incarcerated in the US (city or county jail, immigration detention, juvenile detention, state or federal prison)

Details:

  • $500 Microgrant per person, per year
  • Note: Family, friends, and advocates can apply on behalf of a trans person on the inside
  • Apply as needed, as long as funds allow
  • Alert will post each year when funds are no longer available

How to apply:

  • Send a letter via postal mail requesting a Commissary Microgrant that includes your name, committed name, age, pronouns, inmate ID number, address, payment method, and instructions for deposit to:

Trans Lifeline
Inside Advocacy
195 41st St. #11253
Oakland, CA 94611

Funds & Resources:

  • Housing & basic re-entry needs

Eligibility:

  • Identify as trans and/or nonbinary
  • Formerly incarcerated in the US (city or county jail, immigration detention, juvenile detention, state or federal prison)
  • Must have been released within the past year

Details:

  • $1500 Post-Release Microgrant
  • Family, friends, and advocates can apply on behalf of a trans person on the inside nearing a release date
  • Prior recipients are not eligible to reapply
  • Apply as needed, as long as funds allow
  • Alert will post when funds are no longer available

How to apply:

  • Send a letter via postal mail requesting a Post-Release Microgrant that includes your name, committed name, age, pronouns, inmate ID number, address, payment method, and instructions for deposit to:

 

Trans Lifeline
Inside Advocacy
195 41st St #11253
Oakland, CA 94611

FAQs

The application is open for the first 2 weeks of every month. It will always open on the 1st at 6am PT / 9am ET, and close on the 14th at 8:59pm PT / 11:59pm ET.

The application will always live at the top of this webpage. Here’s the link as well, just in case! Click here to sign up for an email reminder when the application opens and closes.

We accept and process an average of 55 applications per month.

Name Change Microgrants cover all the required fees pertaining to court-ordered name changes. They cover corrections and updates on passports, driver’s licenses, state IDs, and Tribal IDs. They do not cover birth certificates unless it restricts you from accessing documents that are covered, or your birth certificate was issued in the same state as where you currently live.

  • The link to the Name Change Microgrant application will always live at the top of this webpage.
  • The application will remain open for 2 weeks – there is no time crunch to complete it.
  • The application will ask for your name, location, demographic information, and contact information.
  • Once you submit your application, you’re entered in our pool of applicants for that cycle.
  • On the 15th of each month, our system will randomly select 55 applications (on average) to process.
  • If your application is selected, it will be assigned to a trans team member who will contact within 4 weeks to discuss:
– Which documents you would like a Microgrant for
– The fees associated with updating those documents
– Information about local requirements and resources
Requests for any additional identifying information
  • Once your application has been approved and you have all of the information you need, we’ll disburse your funds.
  • You may keep applying once per month until your application is selected. The pool of applicants is very large, and we come nowhere near meeting the need for this resource – so you may end up applying many times.
  • Please refer to the top of the Microgrants page for current processing time estimates.
(If you receive an error message or your application crashes, contact us.)

We receive considerably more application submissions each month than we are able to accept. The need is huge, and we do not come close to meeting it. The lottery process (rather than first-come first-serve) makes the process more equitable overall for folks who have inconsistent access to a computer, for example, and accessibility is a priority for us. However, it does mean that folks might apply many months in a row and still not be selected. If you have feedback about the application process, we’d love to hear it here.

75% of Name Change Microgrants per month are reserved for TBIPOC (trans Black, Indigenous, people of color).

Our new lottery process means that the applications selected each month are completely random, and no longer first-come first-serve. Applications are subject to an approval process upon selection.

If our internal systems flag an application as potentially fraudulent, we reserve the right to ask for additional information in order to process that application. If an applicant is not able to meet that request, we reserve the right to not disburse a microgrant. Microgrants will not ask its applicants to engage in extensive identity-verification processes.

We trust our community’s ability to self-identify when it comes to gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, and ability.

Microgrant recipients receive peer support on name/gender marker change requirements and paperwork specific to your state, county, and situation.

We disburse Name Change Microgrants in the form of personal checks by mail, or via Cash App.

We trust trans people to use your Microgrant as needed. We do not require any receipts or documentation.

We offer Microgrants to trans minors. Please complete the application, and include your age so we can be best prepared to help you. In most states, minors are able to change their name and/or gender marker with approval from their guardian(s).

If a minor cannot get approval from a guardian (in the form of their signature and/or attending the court hearing), it still may be possible, and we can help you find legal assistance. If you have any other questions, contact us.

Name Change Microgrants are available to anyone regardless of citizenship status or geographic location, but at this time we are only able to fund US documents.

Trans Lifeline partnered with Folx Health in 2021 to distribute 100 microgrants to cover 1 free year of HRT. These microgrants are not available in 2022. Learn more about Folx Health here.

Microgrant applications and information are kept confidential. Staff and volunteers will not share their personal contact information with microgrant recipients.

Trans Lifeline is committed to combating racism, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, xenophobia, ableism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, classism and other oppressive structures.

Trans Lifeline does not tolerate harassment, bigoted commentary, verbal abuse or debates of issues affecting our communities; Any applicant abusing staff, volunteers, or the program will not receive a microgrant and will be blocked from applying for funds.

Still have a question we didn’t answer? Contact us.

Inside Advocacy: Supporting Trans Siblings Behind Bars

Trans Lifeline’s Inside Advocacy project provides financial aid and local resources to trans people that are currently incarcerated or have been recently released—ranging from Commissary Microgrants for hygiene products, stamps, and food, to Post-Release Microgrants for rent and other re-entry needs.

Trans people, especially Black trans people, face disproportionate rates of arrest and often endure mistreatment, diminished access to medications and gender-appropriate facilities, and physical and sexual trauma while incarcerated. We support prison abolition and until these violent institutions are dismantled, we will continue working to uplift and empower those still inside by offering tangible support.

Inside Advocacy is created and directed by trans people who have been directly impacted by the carceral state. Until We’re All Free, our annual Holiday Commissary Campaign, partners with organizations fighting injustice, providing on-the-ground support and advocating for our community on the inside.

Until We’re All Free: Annual Holiday Commissary Campaign

$287,602 given directly to our incarcerated trans siblings

For five consecutive years, Microgrants has organized a grassroots fundraiser to raise money for our incarcerated trans siblings during the winter holiday season. All funds raised by the Until We’re All Free campaign are directly distributed by our partner organizations, who offer direct support on the ground to trans folks who are incarcerated in their communities.

The organizations we work with vary each year. For our 2020 fundraiser, in response to global Black uprisings, our campaign included supporting Black-led organizations mobilizing bail funds for trans people. We continued to prioritize organizations doing work like this in 2021, and it’s our hope that this shift honors the innovative, grassroots, rapid-response organizing work happening on the ground in communities that have been on the frontlines of over-policing for generations.

Check out the 2021 partner organizations and read more about the fundraiser here!

Trans Migrant Partnership Program

Our Trans Migrant Partnership Program partners with organizations who provide direct services to trans migrants. In 2021, we distributed $41,000 to the following organizations to disburse $1000 microgrants directly to trans migrants to support immigration costs including: Updating names and/or gender markers on identifying immigration documents, and legal fees during immigration and asylum processes.

  • Trans Asylum Seeker’s Network
  • Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

In 2022, we will continue building partnerships with organizations offering direct services to disburse $75,000 ($1000 grants to 75 people) directly to trans migrants. This opportunity is not open to the public.

HRT Microgrants x FOLX Health

In 2021, Trans Lifeline teamed up with FOLX health in an effort to provide 100 microgrants for at least 1 year of free or reduced HRT through our HRT Care Fund. As a result, we raised and distributed more than $100,000 to trans folks across the country who were able to initiate and/or sustain gender-affirming medical care via FOLX HRT services.

It was important to us to partner with a company equally committed to our shared mission to alleviate financial barriers for trans folks through economic redistribution strategies.

Thank you to everyone who gave to support these microgrants!