The Court of Appeals of Indiana just issued a ruling clarifying the process by which individuals may obtain a legal name or gender marker change for their identifying documents.
Both petitioners identify as transgender men, and both filed petitions to change the gender marker that appears on their identifying documents. One petitioner, L.S., also filed a petition “to change his name, to waive the publication requirement, and to seal the record pursuant to Administrative Rule 9.”
Administrative Rule 9 provides “an exception providing that a court record that would otherwise be publicly accessible may be excluded from public access upon a verified written request demonstrating that ‘[a]ccess or dissemination of the Court Record will create a significant risk of substantial harm to the requestor . . . .'” L.S. “testified that he believes that if information about his transgender status became public, he would be ‘at great risk for potential harm. . . . I mean it could be anything. I – I – I uh, violence, death, you know, it just depends on who – who gets a hold of me you know.'”
The court found that the “requirement to publish notice of intent to change one’s name” does not apply to one who applies to change one’s gender marker. The court also found that the L.S. provided sufficient evidence to qualify for exception to the requirement to publish one’s intended name change under Administrative Rule 9, and ” is entitled to have the record sealed, and is entitled to waive publication of notice of intent to change his name.”