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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2022 01:58 PM
From: Senator Lindsey M. Williams and Sen. Amanda M. Cappelletti, Sen. Timothy P. Kearney, Sen. Katie J. Muth
To: All Senate members
Subject: Navigating Pennsylvania’s Current Name Change Process
After learning more about the challenges facing transgender Pennsylvanians at a Senate Democratic Policy Hearing held last June, my colleagues and I are introducing a package of bills to reform the name change process and remove some of the legal barriers the LGBTQ community faces when living as their authentic selves.

In the near future, we will be introducing legislation to reduce the financial and emotional costs that transgender individuals face navigating Pennsylvania’s current name change process.  

The process of transitioning can be enormously stressful, and simply being a transgender person can mean constantly experiencing or being exposed to harassment, discrimination, and violence. Transgender people are all too frequently placed in the position of having to advocate for themselves—at work, at school, with doctors, government agencies, and more. Changing your name in Pennsylvania should not require the same physical, emotional, and financial toll.

Specifically, our legislation will require the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to provide: 
  • Accurate, publicly available information detailing the name change process and the steps required in a widely available, accessible format.  
  • Dedicated and safe point of contact to help trans individuals navigate the name change process and connect with resources in their area. 
  • Training so that all staff, judges, and administrators involved in the name change process are knowledgeable, competent, and affirming. 
The delays, cost, and confusion involved in the current name change process cause real harm to Pennsylvania’s trans community. While an entirely new name change process is needed, this legislation sets forth reasonable, initial steps that can be taken now to improve the safety, stability, and wellbeing of our trans community in the Commonwealth.  
Please join us in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.  

Introduced as SB1149