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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 6, 2023 10:32 AM
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
Last session, we introduced a package of legislation aimed at addressing the ongoing challenges and legal barriers transgender individuals and members of the LGBTQ community face when going through the name change process in the Commonwealth.
Since introducing these bills, we have continued to hear from members of the community about the need to advance these pieces of legislation, especially at a time when members feel more under attack than ever. In that effort, we are re-introducing this package of bills so that individuals can more easily live as their authentic selves.

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.  

This legislation was Senate Bill 1149 in 2021-22. Senate Bill 1149 was previously co-sponsored by Senators Cappelletti, Kearney, Muth, Fontana, Santarsiero, Saval, Kane, and Street.
Please join us in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.  

Introduced as SB526