Trans woman granted name change


After a lengthy effort, a Philadelphia trans woman was granted a name change last month. The woman, identified in court papers as “A.S.D.,” previously sought relief in Pennsylvania Superior Court to help effectuate her name change.

In August 2016, A.S.D. filed a petition in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court for a name-change to correlate with her gender identity. However, Common Pleas Judge Linda A. Carpenter denied her petition, noting the applicant’s criminal record that includes a non-violent felony conviction.

Carpenter said A.S.D. must wait another year before resuming her request for a name-change.

Attorneys for A.S.D. asked Carpenter to reconsider her ruling but, after doing so, the judge reiterated her denial of the name-change request.

In November 2016, attorneys for A.S.D. filed an appeal in Pennsylvania Superior Court.  Last year, the Superior Court affirmed the right of trans people to have their name changed in a timely manner despite a non-violent felony conviction.

The court then remanded the case back to Philadelphia Common Pleas Court for further proceedings. On Feb. 14, Common Pleas Judge Abbe F. Fletman granted A.S.D.’s name-change petition, according to court records.

Neither side had a comment for this story.

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Tim Cwiek has been writing for PGN since the 1970s. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from West Chester State University. In 2013, he received a Sigma Delta Chi Investigative Reporting Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his reporting on the Nizah Morris case. Cwiek was the first reporter for an LGBT media outlet to win an award from that national organization. He's also received awards from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the National Newspaper Association, and the Keystone Press.