Frequently Asked Questions
When do Name Change Microgrant applications open?
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.
Where can I find the Name Change Microgrant application?
The application will be at the top of this webpage when the application period is open.
Click here to sign up for an email reminder when the application opens and closes.
How many Name Change Microgrants are offered each cycle?
We accept and process an average of 55 applications per month.
What kinds of fees and documents do Name Change Microgrants cover?
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, birth certificates, and Tribal IDs.
How does the Name Change Microgrant application process work, and what is the processing time?
- 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 into our pool of applicants for that cycle.
- On the 15th of each month, our system will randomly select 55 applications (on average) to process.
- Then, we will review & confirm eligibility, and replace ineligible applications via further rounds of random selection if necessary. By the 20th, applicants will receive an email telling them whether or not they were selected.
- If your application is selected, it will be assigned to a trans team member who will contact you within 6 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.
If you receive an error message or your application crashes, contact us.
Why wasn’t my application selected?
We receive considerably more application submissions 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 several times in a row and still not be selected.
How do you determine who gets a Name Change Microgrant?
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 their applicants to engage in extensive identity-verification processes. We reserve the right to reject an application based on our internal verification systems.
How does Trans Lifeline determine identities?
We trust our community’s ability to self-identify when it comes to gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, and ability.
What kind of support is available to Name Change Microgrant recipients?
Microgrant recipients receive peer support on name/gender marker change requirements and paperwork specific to your state, county, and situation.
If my application is selected, how long will it take to hear from someone?
Within 6 weeks.
How will I receive my Name Change Microgrant funds?
We disburse Name Change Microgrants in the form of personal checks by mail, or via ACH (direct deposit).
We trust trans people to use your Microgrant as needed. We do not require any receipts or documentation.
Why was the Name Change Microgrant application closed?
Trans Lifeline’s Name Change Microgrants were closed from June 2021 through January 2022. While the application was paused, we distributed $68,500 to the following partners to provide name change assistance to trans people:
- Metro Trans Umbrella Group, St. Louis
- Transformative Justice Law Project, Illinois
- Real Name Campaign, New Orleans
- Louisiana Trans Advocates, Louisiana
- Trans Maryland, Maryland
We selected our partners based on geographic areas historically underserved by Microgrants, where trans resources may be limited. It was important to us to continue distributing funds to trans folks in need even while we were strategizing and improving our internal systems. We are committed to building relationships with folks doing this work on the ground and will continue to uplift and partner with outstanding organizations across the country.
What if I’m under 18?
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.
What if I’m not in the U.S.?
Our microgrants are available to anyone regardless of citizenship status or geographic location, but at this time we are only able to fund U.S. residents.
What about confidentiality and discrimination?
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 on 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.
Can I read about your equity policy?
Yes! You can find our equity policy here.