Victory! Name Change Granted for Transgender Woman in Virginia
New York, NY- Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) announces a victory in the case of a transgender woman who has been seeking a legal name change for nearly two years. Virginia Circuit Court Judge Dennis L. Hupp approved the name change for Kendra Brill after he previously denied it because of Brill's past felony conviction for a drunk driving offense.
The judge initially reasoned that Brill’s previous name should remain to assure clarity in the state’s criminal records, but reversed the decision after hearing arguments from attorney Alison R. W. Toepp of the law firm Reed Smith LLP, working as pro bono counsel for TLDEF. “Granting the requested name change will also end the discrimination, harassment and harm to Petitioner’s well-being that she faces because of the discrepancy between her female gender identity and expression, and her male legal name,” Toepp argued in a court filing.
“We are thrilled that Kendra Brill has finally obtained a legal name change after almost two years of fighting to match her name with her true self. We thank Alison R.W. Toepp and Reed Smith for their tireless work on Kendra’s behalf,” said TLDEF Staff Attorney Ezra Young. “A name is the most fundamental part of someone’s identity. When transgender people cannot obtain name changes, they are forced to navigate the world with inaccurate ID. That puts already vulnerable people at risk for further discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, credit, and numerous other facets of their lives. Kendra’s past conviction should not have precluded her ability to secure a name change. We commend this decision.”
“I am so happy I finally have a legal name that represents who I truly am,” said Brill. “It’s been a long road. It has taken so much strength and determination to overcome my obstacles and live authentically. I am grateful for my sobriety and grateful I can put the past behind me and move on with my life as Kendra.”