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Can a person change their name to reflect their gender identity?

Yes. In some states, through what is called "common law name change," people may change their name simply by using the new name in everyday interactions.

Although this is free and easy and can protect you from later claims that would have otherwise constituted as a fraud, it does not create the kind of solid paper trail needed to change identity documents.

The other way to change one's name is to file a petition in court. Most judges will grant a name change as long as they're convinced that the petitioner is not trying to evade debts or the police. A number of states require anyone who wants to change their name to publish a legal notice of the change in a local newspaper. Name changes are often harder to obtain for people with past criminal convictions. In rare cases, judges have required a transgender person seeking a name change to prove that they had undergone medical procedures that show they intend to live permanently in the gender associated with the new name, but in most states, this isn't required.

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