Victory as New York trans man granted legal name change at appeal

A transgender man in New York is celebrating victory after being allowed to legally change his name.

Ben Stanford had previously been denied the name change petition after a lower court said he declined to provide “medical evidence” of his transition.

Stanford’s attorney Laurie Styka Bloom from Nixon Peabody, working on behalf of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), argued that nobody should be forced to provide medical evidence, especially since other name change petitions do not require such evidence.

Stanford said he was relieved to have been granted the legal name change by the state appeals court.

He said: “I have worked hard to be who I am and live my life authentically. Having a name that did not match my identity caused me great difficulty in my daily life, particularly when forced to present inaccurate identification.

“Thankfully I finally have a name that accurately reflects my true self. I am grateful to TLDEF and Nixon Peabody for helping me through this ordeal. I can now move forward with my life as myself.”

TLDEF staff attorney Ezra Young added: “It is critical for trans persons to align their legal names with who they are to help them challenge the discrimination they already face in education, health care, housing and public accommodations.

“Navigating the legal system can be expensive, time consuming and intimidating. We are committed to providing our clients with legal assistance that brings positive outcomes and helps them lead happier, healthier lives. We are thrilled to see Ben’s name change come through once and for all.”

Earlier this year a trans man sued Indiana over a law that has blocked him from changing his name.

The man was granted asylum in the US last year as “a protective step” in case he was deported to Mexico, where he could face persecution for being transgender, and is now suing Indiana because of a law that blocks him from changing his name.