"Flying Solo" at Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

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October 10, 2014
Lambda Legal Client Robina Asti

Lambda Legal's short documentary, Flying Solo: A Transgender Widow Fights Discrimination, about 93-year-old WWII veteran and pilot Robina Asti, will be showing next week at the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. It will play as part of the Transcendent Trans Shorts series along with eight other short films.

Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival: Oct 14th at 7pm, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, Seattle, WA: Click here for more information.

Keep up to date on all upcoming screenings of Flying Solo here.

Robina Asti was denied the survivor benefits she should have received after her husband's death for two long years. In a 2004 ceremony in an airplane hangar in Orange County, NY, Robina, a World War II veteran and pilot, married her longtime sweetheart, Norwood Patton. In June 2012, Norwood passed away at 97 years old. On July 27, 2012, Robina applied in person for survivor benefits through the SSA.

Though Robina already received Social Security benefits, being able to claim survivor benefits would increase her monthly check by about $500. On April 24, 2013, the SSA notified Robina that her survivor benefits under Norwood's Social Security record were denied because "her marriage does not meet the requirements under Federal law for payment of Social Security widow's benefits," stating that her marriage was not valid because she was "legally male" at the time of their wedding.

In June 2013, Lambda Legal filed a request for reconsideration on Robina's behalf. This past Valentine's Day, after months of advocacy by Lambda Legal, the Social Security Administration (SSA) paid Robina, and in April of this yearthe SSA updated its policies and procedures regarding the ability of transgender individuals to receive benefits through their spouses.