The case concerned Olin Winn-Ritzenberg, a 23 year old trans man who attempted to change his name earlier this year.
His name change petition was denied by the lower court because he had failed to provide a letter from a doctor, therapist or social worker establishing his need to change his name.
When he was told by a New York court clerk he had to show a note from his doctor detailing his "need" to change his name, he contacted the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund for help.
The appellate court wrote,
"[t]here 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." The court's decision sends a powerful message that transgender people must be treated equally and that they cannot be subjected to different legal requirements than everyone else. People’s names are fundamental to their identities. This decision confirms that each one of us has the right to be known by a name we choose. That decision can’t be second-guessed by doctors, therapists or anyone else simply because someone is transgender.
Upon learning of the ruling, Olin said in a statement, "This means that I can finally change my name and move forward with my life. My gender transition has been a very personal journey, and no one is in a better position to decide that I need to change my name than I am."
Thanks once again to TLDEF for being fierce advocates for our legal rights.