What's in a Name?

Sometimes, everything.
Changing a name might seem like a minor matter for those who are changing their gender identities and, for some, facing challenges like finding knowledgeable doctors, trying hormones and experimenting with painful hair-removal procedures. But many who have gone through the switch say a name change sends an important message to the world, a message solidified and made official with a court's approval.

..."There is a long emotional, physical process that a lot of us have to go through," said Katherine Cross, 22, of the Bronx, who got her new name in July. She said her transition included learning how to force her voice into a higher register and the basics of shopping for women's clothing.

"For me," she said, "the centerpiece was the name change."

...The two recent rulings in New York courts helped clear the way for more such moments on Centre Street.

In one case, an appeals panel overruled a Manhattan civil court judge who had insisted on doctors' notes giving reasons for name changes in transgender cases. The panel said there was "no sound basis in law or policy" for the requirement and noted that the law generally permits people to change their names unless there is some fraudulent intent involved.

In the other decision, a Westchester judge made an exception to a general requirement that name changes and home addresses be advertised in newspapers, saying the safety issues for people in gender transition were obvious in a world that can be hostile.
I love when I see courts and common sense and compassion all in the same place. And what a refreshingly sensitive (if imperfect) article from the New York Times on a gender issue.

[H/T to Shaker ASDKids2.]

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