Supporting the Transgender Name Change Initiative

May 10, 2012

What’s in a name? Quite a lot for the transgender population. With all the ordeals and challenges they routinely face, many often have to grapple with the problem of having a name that does not accurately identify them, creating myriad bureaucratic nightmares.

Kaye Scholer became involved with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund’s (TLDEF) Name Change Project in December 2010 when Associate Lindsay Moilanen took on the first case. Lindsay’s success laid the groundwork, creating templates and memoranda to help guide our lawyers through the process. Since then, we have taken on several more name change petitions, including cases handled by Associates Candice Andalia, Nicholas Friedman, Michél Pignatiello, Javier Stark, and Counsel Victoria Frankenburg, under the supervision of Partners Sheila Boston, Jeff Fuisz, Peter Haveles, Manvin Mayell and Ben Mintz.

Transgender clients from TLDEF are often indigent, and many have had adversarial relationships with the court system stemming from criminal charges based on their identity, so part of the challenge is helping them navigate the legal system. Completing a formal name change bridges the gap between the individual’s legal identification and self-identification.

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