Trans ex-inmates struggle to change legal names

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Eight trans people who have criminal records are suing Illinois for the right to change their legal names. Under current laws, people with convictions are not legally allowed to change names. Reyna Ortiz, 39, is a trans advocate and one of the plaintiffs suing for the right to change her legal name. She has gone by Reyna for more than 20 years, but the identity theft conviction she faced 17 years ago does not allow her to make this name legal. In Illinois, it usually takes around eight weeks to get your name changed legally. But speaking to local news, Ortiz said that people with convictions are made to live the incomplete lives. Ortiz and seven other trans people with convictions are bringing a legal case to make it possible for them to change their legal names. They want the courts to recognize that some trans individuals have compelling reasons to receive a permission for a legal name change. Avi Rudnick, of the Transformative Justice Law Project, who is involved in the case, says that the plaintiffs have already taken the full responsibility for what they had done, and they don’t need any limitations in their current life because of the past mistakes they had already been punished for.

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