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Transgender Law & Policy Institute

PRESS RELEASE

 Equality Florida Legal Advocacy Project Represents Transgender Father in Custody Battle Televised on Court TV

 For immediate release

 SAN FRANCISCO -- February 15, 2002

 Anyone tuning into Michael Kantaras’ custody battle in Clearwater, Florida looking for “talk show” style sensationalism got an advanced education on transgender issues instead.  Due to the unprecedented Court TV coverage of Mr. Kantaras’ fight for his children, more people were exposed to accurate information about transsexualism and sex-reassignment than in any case that has ever been litigated on behalf of a transsexual person anywhere in the country.

“We have heard from transgender people from around the country who see this case not only a validation of their ability to marry and be good parents, but also as an unprecedented validation of our lives as transgender men and women,” said Kantaras co-counsel Shannon Minter.  “In addition to Michael himself,” adds Minter, “the primary credit for the educational impact of this case must go to Tampa attorney Karen Doering, the founder and director of the Equality Florida Legal Advocacy Project, a non-profit legal organization based in Tampa, Florida.  Karen’s dedication to this case is what has transformed this private battle into an amazing opportunity to educate the country about transgender issues.”

The Advocacy Project’s director, Karen Doering, was one of the three attorneys  representing Mr. Kantaras at his trial, along with Minter and Collin Vauss, a private family law attorney in Clearwater.  Ms. Doering worked for months prior to the trial preparing Michael’s case and locating the expert medical witnesses necessary to prove that Mr. Kantaras is male, that his marriage is valid, and that a transsexual man can be a good father to his children.  Litigating this case has been enormously expensive, and the Advocacy Project has depleted its resources. 

             Due to the nature of the case, the Advocacy Project will not recoup any of these costs even if the judge rules in Mr. Kantaras’ favor.  Therefore, the Transgender Law & Policy Institute is urging transgender individuals and anyone who recognizes the importance of this case to make a monetary contribution to the Equality Florida Legal Advocacy Project. All funds received are tax deductible and will help the Advocacy Project continue to fight for the rights of the LGBT community in Florida, a major battleground state in our continuing battle for legal equality.

 Donations can be sent to:

Equality Florida Legal Advocacy Project, Inc.
3708 W. Swann Ave
Tampa, FL 33609-4522

 For more information, please contact:

Shannon Minter