Shades of Gay Cover Designer Faces Legal Battle For Her Identity
Submitted by: Narrow Path Publishing
Lillington, NC (OPENPRESS) December 7, 2010 -- Openly Transgender activist Hadassah D Gavi Chayim has been told by a supervisor for the Harnett County Department of Special Proceedings that she cannot legally change her first name to a female name even if she meets the legal requirements to change her gender on official documents. Chayim, who was born physically male, identifies as female and is seeking the name change as her first step towards gender transition.
"I am a Transgender Woman seeking to change my name to a Female name," Chayim writes on a Facebook page she set up to get support for her name change. "I need my name changed to match my gender identity."
North Carolina law allows people to change their names only once under most circumstances, and Chayim changed her middle and last names two years ago for religious reasons. When she emailed a supervisor at the Harnett County Division of Special Proceedings to explain why she needed to change her first name, she received a response stating, "[Y]ou would only be allowed to change your name back to your original birth name NOT change you [sic] name a second time."
Chayim has since contacted the National Center for Transgender Equality and the North Carolina Division of the ACLU. As of December 6, she has not yet received a response. She is hoping one of these organizations will be able to help her secure a lawyer for low cost, as she cannot afford to hire one privately. If she cannot secure representation, she will have to move out of state in order to change her name.
"They can't make me keep a male name when I am a woman," Chayim says about why she intends to pursues this matter. "Even though the law doesn't mention Transgender persons specifically they are still prohibiting me from having the name that I need to match my gender identity. Changing my first name to a female name is a giant step forward in the right direction and this is something that needs to be done for my peace and for others that may be in this same situation so that they may have hope. I am a Transgender Woman and I have every right to live as a woman with the female name that I desire."
Chayim's battle to change her name begins just as Shades of Gay, an LGBT-oriented novel featuring her cover art, is about to be published. Chayim also maintains a blog in which she writes about her mainly positive experiences with transition.
For more information, please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Allow-Hadassah-Davette-Gavi-to-change-her-name-to-a-Female-name/120808677983472 or http://gavigirl.wordpress.com
Hadassah D Gavi Chayim