A Montgomery County trans boy this week was granted a legal name change, almost a year after his initial petition was filed in court.
The youth, identified as Aidan, was 16 in September when Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Bernard A. Moore denied the name-change petition, without explanation.
Aidan recently filed a new petition under seal. After a brief hearing May 25, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph A. Smyth granted the name-change.
Molly Tack-Hooper, an attorney for Aidan, was pleased with the outcome.
“It’s a good day at the office,” she said. “I’m sorry Aidan had to go through the disappointment of the first name-change petition. But I hope that trans youth will take heart and see that justice can be done, with allies on their side.”
Tack-Hooper spoke with admiration about Aidan.
“Aidan is a typical high-school boy,” Tack-Hooper noted. “He has plenty on his mind other than legal proceedings. I’m glad he doesn’t have to stress about this particular issue anymore and get back to just living his life and finishing up high school.”
She expressed hope that other trans youth will be inspired by Aidan’s struggle.
“Obviously no one is happier about today’s result than Aidan but hopefully it will have a broader impact on other trans youth,” she added.
Tack-Hooper represented Aidan and his mother at the May 25 hearing in Norristown, along with Michelin Cahill, another attorney at the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
Aidan’s mother, who asked to be identified as Melissa, issued this statement about Smyth’s ruling:
“After waiting eight agonizing months for my son to have a name that matches his gender expression, I am absolutely elated! A tremendous weight was lifted from my Momma Bear shoulders when I heard Judge Smyth say that Aidan’s petition for a name change was approved. I want to personally thank Molly from the ACLU for taking on Aidan’s case and working so diligently to get everything in place for this to occur. I pray that future transgender minors do not have the difficulty we faced in Montgomery County.”
Aidan issued this statement about Smyth’s ruling:
“I was kind of nervous walking into the courtroom, knowing that I was denied before. I was more confident because Molly and Michelin were with my mom and me. Once Judge Smyth started granting other name changes on the spot, I was still nervous because there was still a 50-50 chance of not getting approved. I practiced my testimony with the ACLU [before the hearing]. But I didn’t have to do that in front of the other people in the courtroom, which made me feel relieved. When the judge granted my name change on the spot, I wanted to jump up and shake his hand. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop smiling inside!”