Transgender people murdered in hate crimes are memorialized today, on National Transgender Day of Remembrance.
YouTube user Grishno, a transgender woman, posted a video to mark the day. “It’s important that we remember what it has cost some people to be themselves. Because that’s what we’re all in the process of being,” she said, staring into the camera.
For many transgender people, being able to change one’s name is an important part of this process of being. Transgendered people’s ability to change their names matters for both emotional reasons like having your identity and legal identity match, and practical reasons like not getting delayed at the airport, the Human Rights Campaign says.
A panel of New York State County Supreme Court justices ruled on October 21 that a transgendered person does not need a doctor’s note in order to change his or her name.
The ruling was a victory for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. The fund brought the case to the State Appeals Court on behalf of Olin Yuri Winn-Ritzenberg, a 26-year-old transgender man.
Winn-Ritzenberg had petitioned the New York City Civil Court to legally change his name from Leah Uri Winn-Ritzenberg.
Civil Court Judge Manuel J. Mendez denied the request in February, ruling that Winn-Ritzenberg needed to provide a letter from a physician, psychologist or social worker documenting the “need” for a name change, The New York Times wrote.
Striking down this ruling, the appeals court wrote, “There is no sound basis in law or policy to engraft upon the statutory provisions an additional requirement that a transgendered-petitioner present medical substantiation for the desired name change.”
In Brooklyn, another development promises to ease the transgender name-change process.
Brooklyn’s first transgender name change clinic opened on Thursday. The clinic, a service of the Brooklyn Pride Community Center and the West Village Trans-Legal Name Change Clinic, provides free legal representation for transgendered people seeking to legally change their names. Individuals are responsible for their own filing and publication fees.
The clinic will be held the third Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St. Room 320.
What experience have you or your transgender friends had in trying to legally change your/their name(s)?