Transgender Name Change? We’re Proud to Provide this Service!

Transgender Name Change? We’re Proud to Provide this Service!

A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle highlighted the Bay Area transgender community’s anxiety about identification issues under the new Trump administration.

If you’re not trans, it’s not a big deal

Routine procedures that the rest of us never think about can become crises for many trans people. “People take their documentation for granted if they’re not trans,” said Lexi Adsit. “There’s a number of instances where your identification can come into play. When you’re at the DMV, if you’re pulled over by police, applying for a job . . .  it’s endless.”

Adsit and many trans people are worried that with Trump, the process to change their identification is going to become harder. “Trump ran on such a clear platform of intolerance,” said Kris Hayashi, the executive director of Oakland’s Transgender Law Center. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has taken a number of anti-LGBT stances, and if the Affordable Care Act is dismantled, many trans people could be left without access to much-needed healthcare.

Transgender name change efforts resulted in discrimination and other difficulties

Securing government IDs with accurate information has traditionally been difficult for trans people. The process is expensive and time-consuming. A 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed that 44% of transgender people reported having been denied service, harassed or assaulted when presenting identity documents that did not match their gender presentation. Each year, California’s Transgender Law Center would receive hundreds of calls from people who had difficulty in legally changing their names and gender, experiencing discrimination and threats of violence due to having identity documents that did not match who they truly were.

California law makes it easier for transgender people to change their names

Thanks to the tireless efforts of activists, politicians, Equality California and the Transgender Law Center, a California Law, AB 1121, took effect on July 1, 2014, that allowed transgender California residents to shortcircuit the Name Change process. The legal Name Change process normally requires publishing the new name in a newspaper or attending a public hearing, but now this step has been eliminated for transgender Californians.

With AB 1121, Name Change process became more private and affordable

AB 1121 makes the Name Change process more private and affordable for transgender people, exempting them from the requirement that they publish a notice of the intended Name Change in the local newspaper for four weeks. It has also eliminated between $40 – $300 in required fees.

For more information: Download the Transgender Law Center’s guide, ID PLEASE! that explains the process for updating California and federal identity documents to reflect accurate gender markers.

California Document Preparers helps individuals or entire families with the Name Change process—filling out the appropriate forms, filing them with the court and applying for the circulation of a newspaper ad indicating your intent to change your name. Call one of our three Bay Area offices today to make an appointment today.