Book review: Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy, edited by Jennifer L. Levi and Elizabeth E. Monnin-Bowder

transgender law coverTransgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy. Ed. by Jennifer L. Levi and Elizabeth E. Monnin-Bowder. AuthorHouse, 2012. $19.95. 326p. PB. 978-1468552140.

The legal issues confronting members of the transgender community affect almost every aspect of life and vary widely from state to state. Courts are woefully ignorant of the issues, often biased, and state laws lag behind current medical treatment. The collection of essays found in Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy functions almost as a textbook for lawyers considering offering services to the transgender community. The book begins with preparing a law office and staff to welcome and make comfortable a client who is transgender. For example, staff members need to inquire how the client wants to be addressed in different circumstances.

Other chapters, written by a variety of legal experts, cover other issues such as changing names and gender markers on official documents, marriage and divorce, protecting the parental rights of transgender persons, protecting children who are transgender, domestic and intimate partner violence, and estate planning. The lengthy appendix has a range of useful sample forms and letters. Additionally, the sample intake form in the appendix would prove useful in a variety of professions.

Though especially useful to those in the legal professions, the text of Transgender Family Law is understandable for non-lawyers, and reading applicable chapters will prepare transgender persons to be informed consumers of legal services. People in other professions who provide services to transgender clients will be able to use the book as a model of best practices and as a guide to areas of potential concern for their clients. Public law libraries will want to make this book available to both lawyers and families that include someone who is transgender.

Reviewer:  Carolyn Caywood

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