N.Y. Lawmaker Looks to Simplify Name Change Procedure for Trans Residents

In most states, transgender individuals are required to publish a public notice in a local newspaper prior to legally changing their names. One legislator hopes to remove this burden for trans New Yorkers.

BY Parker Marie Molloy

May 08 2014 4:37 PM ET

Assemblymember Harry Bronson

Late last month, a bill was introduced in the New York Assembly that, if enacted, would make the process of legally changing one's name in court significantly easier for the state's transgender residents.

Assemblymember Harry Bronson introduced A09409 on April 29. The out lawmaker's website states that the bill's intention is "to limit the scope of information disclosed in a published change of name."

As it currently stands, trans individuals seeking a legal name change are required to publish their intent to change name in a local New York newspaper. For many, this requirement is cost-prohibitive, embarassing, and can put the petitioner in harm's way as it requires them to publicly announce their transition.

If passed, the bill would waive the publication requirement of name-change petitions in instances where publication might lead to domestic violence, a hate crime, sexual assault, and in all instances where the name change is being sought "to conform name to his or her gender identity or gender expression."

Last year, California passed a similar law, designed to reduce the financial and emotional burden faced by trans individuals seeking a name change.

A09409 has been assigned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

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