Transgender Californians could soon find it easier to change their legal names. The State Assembly this week passed a bill introduced by openly lesbian Majority Leader Toni Atkins (pictured) that would make the process easier, less expensive and more private, according to San Diego Politico.
“Transgender people are entitled to have their official documents and their legal name reflect their true identity without a burdensome and expensive process that endangers their personal safety,” said Atkins. Currently those seeking name changes must get approval from a court and have the name change application published in a newspaper, which could expose transgender individuals to discrimination or harassment.
“Having identity documents that accurately reflect who you are is vital in so many areas of every day life – from applying for a job to exercising our rights at the ballot box,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center. “Many of us wouldn’t think twice when asked to show our ID, but this is a very serious issue for transgender people.”
The legislation now heads to the California Senate.