California Senate: Remove the Barriers in Name Changes for Transgender Californians
California's name change process is long, complex and expensive, creating barriers for low-income transgender people who cannot afford to change their name to reflect gender identity. Current regulations also pose a risk to the safety and privacy of transgender Californians by requiring them to out themselves as transgender.
Urge your Assemblymember to support AB 1121, a bill that would streamline the name change application process in order to obtain new birth certificate and to ensure that, later in life, their final wishes carried out with dignity and respect.
- California State Senate
- California State Senate
Names are a fundamental part of our public identities, and calling someone by the wrong name is a powerful form of disrespect. We need to make California’s system for changing names respect the dignity and identity of transgender Californians.
That’s why I am writing to urge your support of AB 1121, authored by Assemblymember Atkins, which would simplify the process required for a name change to reflect a person's gender identity, as well as ensure that a person's identity documents reflect their gender identity accurately.
California's name change process is long, complex and expensive. Costs vary from county, causing unnecessary financial hardships for some low-income transgender people who cannot afford to change their names to reflect gender identity. AB 1121 would streamline the name change application process, requiring the State Registrar to issue a new birth certificate without a court order for an person born in California who has undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition and submits to the State Registrar an affidavit of a physician stating that the person has undergone such a treatment. This reform removes bureaucratic roadblocks to transgender Californians living authentic lives, and is exactly the kind of good government reform that everyone, Republican or Democrat, can agree upon.
Under existing law, a funeral director must complete information about the deceased, other than medical and health information, on a state death certificate. This includes personal data about the deceased, including his or her sex. If an error is made in this process, existing law does not provoke a way to correct it, unlike with birth certificates, where there is a means in place to correct any error in the gender listed. AB 1121 prevents errors by giving funeral directors specific instructions on how to fill out the personal data section of a death certificate. This will ensure that in death, transgender Californians are treated with the same respect and dignity as all Californians deserve, and will spare the friends and loved ones of deceased transgender Californians from awkward and sometimes hurtful anachronisms of law.
AB 1121 provides an alternative to a court proceeding for a name change, creating an affordable and efficient administrative option. In addition, AB 1121 ensures that a person's identity documents reflect their gender identity accurately, throughout all stages of a person's life. Supporting AB 1121 means supporting the decisions and identities of all of your constituents.
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