In the never-ending saga of transgender issues burning up time in our nation’s courts, Indiana has just taken a dangerous and ill advised step in the wrong direction.

We’re once again dealing with the issue of people legally changing their names, in this case specifically for the purpose of conforming to their “new gender” they’ve decided to adopt. The legal process for changing your name in most states is fairly clear cut and, in the vast majority of cases, isn’t terribly complicated. But the Indiana Court of Appeals has just introduced a new wrinkle which will make the process considerably easier… but only if you’re transgender. (Daily Caller)

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that transgenders who wish to change their names or officially register as a different sex on their birth certificates can do so without having their titles published in newspapers for public record.

The court ruled to reverse a decision that required a transgendered person have their intent to change their name published at least three times in their home county newspaper, according to the Associated Press Saturday.

“The statutory requirement for publication in name-change cases does not apply to gender marker changes,” Judge John Baker said of the ruling. “It was erroneous to create a requirement where none exists.”

The court is arguing that the burden of publicizing the intent to change your name would be too great for transgender individuals, but that’s not really the issue to be dealt with here. First of all, the requirement to publish a name change announcement was never created specifically for “gender marker changes” as is being implied. You can take a look at the requirements for anyone changing their name on the state’s judiciary website and see for yourself. (Emphasis added)

  • The court will set a hearing date when you file your Petition. Make sure this date is filled in on the Notice of Petition for Change of Name.
  • You will need to take the Notice of Petition for Change of Name to the person who handles legal notices in your local newspaper. This Notice must appear once a week for three weeks. The last publication date must be at least thirty days before your hearing date.
  • The newspaper will send a proof of publication notice to you, which you will attach to the Notice of Filing Proof of Publication and then file these forms with the Court.

This is not a special burden for anyone. It’s part of the normal process. Oregon did the same thing back in June which I wrote about at the time. And the reasons for this being problematic are exactly the same now.

On the subject of legally changing your name, I could really give a flying fig as to who does it or what their reasons are. Bradley Manning changed his name legally and I’ve had zero problem calling him Chelsea ever since. And just imagine the life you’d lead if you’d happened to have had Frank Zappa for a father and wound up being named Moon Unit. If you want to change your name, go for it.

But the rules which are in place for doing this were created for a reason. People surreptitiously changing their names with no public record may be doing so because they owe hundreds of thousands in back alimony. They might might have creditors ringing them up all hours of the day. Or perhaps they don’t want their prospective employer to know about their extensive record of convictions for embezzlement when hiring their new accountant. The list goes on. That’s why the rules have so many exceptions stating that you can’t do it for reasons of avoiding creditors or dodging a sex offender registry or any related reason. And if you are going to make this exception to the rules, why would it only be applicable to gender benders? I’m sure many people have their own motivation for desiring a name change and would like to keep the information private for personal reasons. If the concerns over fraud and debt avoidance aren’t important for someone claiming to be transgender, how can you impose them on everyone else? If you’re going to eliminate the publication requirement for some people you had best remove it for everyone.

The fact is that you don’t need a reason to change your name legally. You should just be able to do it if it’s not for some nefarious purpose. But to keep everyone playing on a level field that information needs to be published and recorded in case you are later found to be doing it to escape detection or for other less than noble purposes. Indiana just made that easier for people to do, just as Oregon did before them. So don’t be surprised if some very shady and decidedly gender stable individuals begin showing up in Indiana suddenly claiming to suffer from gender dysphoria.