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Manhattan A Haven for Trans Name Changes


The Manhattan civil court has successfully completed hundreds of name changes for transgender people in recent years, likely making it the country's busiest court for petitioners in search of legal affirmation.

A dedicated network of lawyers and two recent rulings contribute to the high volume of name-change proceedings for transgender clients at the court, according to The New York Times.

"In many courts around the country, what were once risky or shocking name-change requests are becoming more routine as the sting of gender taboo has lost a little of its edge," according to the Times. "But in few places has this shift been more dramatic than in New York, where two recent and little-noticed rulings helped clarify the murky area not only of the law but also of modern gender identification. They have contributed to Manhattan's becoming a capital of Joe-to-Jane proceedings. A rare network of some 200 lawyers now works on such cases filed in the Centre Street courthouse, and nearly 400 of their transgender clients so far have, more or less, become someone else."

The breakthrough rulings involve the elimination of the need for a doctor's note providing a reason for the name change and the lifting of the dangerous requirement that name changes be published in a newspaper.

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Julie Bolcer