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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ind. Courts - Legal alien, who happens to be transgendered, cannot change his legal name because he is not a citizen

Earlier today the Indianapolis Star posted a story by Stephanie Wang, headed "Indiana won't let transgender man change name." Some quotes:

A transgender man is suing the state of Indiana for not allowing him to change his legal name — because he's not a U.S. citizen.

State law requiring proof of citizenship for a name change, he said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, discriminates against him because of his non-citizen status, and it violates his freedom of speech and privacy to protect his gender identity. * * *

He is not a U.S. citizen but lives in the country legally. The man is a 31-year-old Indiana resident whose name is withheld in the lawsuit, which lists him as "John Doe." * * *

"It's really not a case about transgender rights," said Steve Sanders, an associate professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law. "It's a case about the rights of legal aliens where, in this case, the impact falls particularly hard and in a particularly dramatic way on a transgender person."

The lawsuit noted that the citizenship requirement in Indiana law, passed in 2010, "was first enacted as part of a measure targeting identity theft and with the specific purpose of making it 'more difficult for illegal immigrants to create new identities.'"

But because the man is a legal immigrant, Sanders said the state would be held to the highest level of scrutiny to prove why it needs to treat him differently from a U.S. citizen.

Some legal privileges apply only to U.S. citizens, but other portions of the law — including the constitutional right to equal protection and due process in the Fourteenth Amendment — treat citizens and non-citizens equally.

While it is a case based on alienage, Sanders said it highlights the indignities and legal difficulties that transgender people often face.

ILB: The ILB has obtained a copy of the 18-page complaint in the case, JOHN DOE, formerly known as JANE DOE v. MICHAEL PENCE, et al.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 14, 2016 03:43 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts