Louisa Transgender Man Wins Court Case in Name Change Battle
Louisa, Virginia - a Trans-Man from Louisa County, was finally granted a name change today after having it denied in February of this year. He had applied for a name change as an early stage in his transition, but the judge at the original hearing asked for documents proving he was in a transition process in order to receive the name change, contrary to state law.
The judge for Haley’s first hearing, Hon. Timothy Sanner, said previous name change cases had included doctors notes, however Virginia law specifies “The order shall contain no identifying information other than the applicant’s former name or names, new name, and current address.”
“It bothered me hat he continued to bring up that other case, because it had nothing to do with me,” Haley said in a phone interview after todays hearing.
Judge Sanner again presided over today’s hearing, where he briefly mentioned that they had received criticism after Haley’s original court appearance. According to Sanner, individuals had contacted the court and said his actions were discriminatory. Sanner defended himself by saying that name changes can be denied to individuals seeking a name change for fraudulent reasons. To this Haley’s lawyer, Amy Hensley, responded, “We’re here to make a name change. We’re not here to make waves.”
Going into today’s proceedings Hensley assured Haley there was nothing to be worried about. “She told me that we had it and everything was going to be okay,” said Haley, “I was stressed out basically because I wanted it over with.”
Photo of Haley via Haley
Sanner, during today’s hearing, again mentioned previous cases that had included medical notes with name change applications. It was unclear if he asked specifically for a doctor’s note, however Hensley presented a letter from a medical professional stating Haley had begun the transition process. The judge responded by saying, “This hits the nail on the head in terms of what the court is looking for.”
Michael Hamar, a Norfolk based attorney with a history of handling LGBT issues, said he didn’t understand why any further documentation was required or given to Sanner. “When you look at the statute, you just have to go in there and petition as long as your name change isn’t to defraud creditors and duck out on a past criminal conviction, other than that there’s really no requirement.”
The Judge referred to Jacob as “she” and “Miss Haley” throughout the proceedings. In a bizarre comment made during the proceedings, Sanner also said “there are different rights and responsibilities attached to different genders.”
Since GayRVA broke Haley’s story earlier this year, there was an out pouring of support. Haley wanted to thank Whitman Walker Clinic, a D.C. based clinic, for helping him through the transition.
Haley is set to begin hormone treatment on July, 1st. Amy Hensly of Owen & Owen was Haley’s legal representation during the hearing.
I am originally from a small town in North Carolina and have recently moved to Richmond. Meaning I am a novice to the ways of Richmond life, but from what I have seen it is a culturally rich environment that I look forward to diving into. My daily hustle consists of playing bass, reading, and hunting for new music. This summer I will be interning with RVA Magazine and GayRVA.com. In the fall I will be transferring to Virginia Commonwealth University where I will major in journalism.
“I never imagined helping teens or others would come to something like this.”April 9, 2015
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