A Trans Mexican Immigrant Is Suing The GOP VP Candidate To Have Their Name Legally Changed
Indiana governor and current Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence is being sued over an Indiana law prohibiting non-citizens from changing their names on legal documents. The lawsuit has been filed in conjunction with the Transgender Law Center and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) for a trans Mexican immigrant living in Indiana under political asylum.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is at the center of a lawsuit brought by MALDEF and the Transgender Law Center.
The lawsuit stems from a law passed in 2010 banning non-citizens from changing their name on legal documents. The plaintiff, referred to as “John Doe” in the complaint, moved from Mexico to Indiana with his family when he was 6 years old.
Gov. Pence didn’t take office until 2012, two years after the law was passed, but he is responsible for the current enforcement of the law, according to the lawsuit.
“There is no legitimate reason for Indiana to prevent non-citizens from living consistently with their gender identity,” MALDEF staff attorney Matthew Barragan said in a press release. “Each of us should have the right to be known by the name of our choice.”
The lawsuit alleges that forcing “John Doe” to use the name tied to his gender assigned at birth could lead to emotional, psychological and physical harm.
“I want to use a name that is in line with my true identity,” “John Doe” said in a press release. “Without a legal name change, I am forced to use an I.D. that is inconsistent with who I am and puts me in danger of harassment, violence, and being outed as transgender whenever I present it. I am simply asking for equal treatment under the law.”
The condition created by forcing trans people to stick to their gender assigned at birth is called Gender Dysphoria and is a medically recognized disorder that has some pretty straightforward remedies.
It should really be of no surprise that Pence isn’t jumping at the opportunity to overturn or amend the law. In 2015, Pence signed the highly controversial, and ultimately very costly, Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). RFRA made it legal for Indiana businesses to turn customers away based on religious beliefs.
Among those remedies to avoid or diminish the impact of Gender Dysphoria is the legal name change; the very thing Indiana’s law forbids to non-citizens.
“Everyone should be able to live as their authentic selves no matter their gender identity or immigration status,” Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center, said in a press release. “Transgender immigrants already experience disproportionate violence without the government further jeopardizing their safety and privacy with this unnecessary and discriminatory rule.”
You can read the full lawsuit here.