New Orleans, LA – On November 4, the New Orleans city council voted unanimously to endorse accessible name and gender marker changes on IDs. Their resolution doesn’t carry legal weight, but it pressures the Louisiana state government to make its ID change process accessible.
This means that the council endorsed eliminating the $250 name change fee. It also supports dropping all medical requirements to changing gender markers, including proof of surgery. It recommended “X” gender markers in addition to “M” or “F,” and it included the option to opt out of a gender marker.
The resolution additionally opposed all restrictions of name changes based on criminal record. Councilmember Helena Moreno promised to push the Orleans Parish district attorney to cease denying name changes based on felony convictions.
Popular pressure got this through. 50 people made public comments, all in support. One comment came from a trans non-binary legislative aide who joined speakers in agreement.
Earlier this year, Councilmembers Donna Glapion, Jay Banks and Cyndi Nguyen voted against a resolution condemning Louisiana’s transphobic bills. They were afraid that the state would retaliate. All three voted “yea” on November 4.
Moreno put forth the resolution based on the Real Name Campaign’s petition. Real Name Campaign is an organization that represents the trans and gender nonconforming people’s movement for correct IDs. The group’s representative, Serena Sojic-Borne, ran through the name change process step-by-step. She highlighted who it denies along the way: undocumented immigrants, many incarcerated people, and anyone who can’t afford the $250 fee.
Dylan Wagespack of True Colors United explained that “In 22 states and Washington DC, changing your gender marker is as simple as circling M, F, or X on a form at the DMV and then signing your name.”
Syrah Timbre, a transgender community member, said “It’s a matter of dignity that my identity is recognized at the doctor’s office. We deserve to see our names on paychecks and official documents.”
State agencies have yet to respond on how they will enact Real Name Campaign’s demands.
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