Legal Technology

Website leads transgender Floridians through process of changing names and gender markers

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A new website leads transgender individuals in Florida through the process of filing court documents to legally change their names and updating government-issued documents to reflect their new names and gender markers.

The website is called FloridaNameChange.Org, and it is easy to access on all devices, according to a press release.

FloridaNameChange.Org generates pre-filled legal documents that can be filed in court for a name change. The forms are tailored to requirements of the particular county where the petition is filed. The website also helps users update their legal name and gender on their Social Security card, driver’s license, passport and birth certificate.

The public interest law firm Southern Legal Counsel created the website in partnership with Florida Justice Technology Center, which was launched in 2015 with funding from the Florida Bar Foundation. The bar foundation provided funding for the website project.

The press release notes that name change forms and petitioning process vary from county to county in Florida, making the process intimidating.

“ includes the accurate and required forms and procedures for all 67 counties in Florida, making it the first resource of its kind and ensuring that this tool can assist all Florida residents,” said lawyer Simone Chriss in the press release. Chriss is director of Southern Legal Counsel’s transgender identification initiative.

Ethan Rice, a lawyer with Lambda Legal who formerly lived in Florida, told the ABA Journal that he hasn’t seen any other website with the kind of step-by-step guide provided by FloridaNameChange.Org.

A number of national organizations and states provide information for people who want to change their names or their identity markers, but the Florida website combines the whole process, Rice said.

“I was very excited to see this,” Rice said of the website. “Florida has been pretty under-resourced in this area for a long time.” Rice was also excited that the Florida Bar Foundation provided funding addressing the unmet legal need of transgender individuals in the State.

Rice added that “it would be amazing for every jurisdiction to have something as comprehensive as this Florida web page.”

People in other states looking for similar information can check out other online resources provided by groups such as Lambda Legal, the National Center for Transgender Equality and Trans Law Help.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. to include comment from a Lambda Legal attorney.

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