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Transgender Lawsuit Seeks An End To Name Change Restriction Law

Lark Mulligan
Lark Mulligan is the attorney for a group of eight transgender women who say an Illinois law violates their first amendment rights.

A group of eight Illinois transgender women with criminal records say a state law violates their First Amendment rights.  

The law prohibits legal name changes on identification for at least 10 years after a criminal conviction. 

Attorney Lark Mulligan, with the Transformative Justice Project says transgender women of color have suffered the consequences... including accusations of fraud and denial of public benefits:

“The issue here is when a transgender person is not allowed to change their legal name, they are forced to carry government-issued identification that inaccurately does not align with their true gender identity. Names carry gender connotation, and so  when a transperson has an ID that doesn’t necessarily correlate with their actual gender identity, that ID can out them to anyone that sees that,” Mulligan said,

The women filed a federal lawsuit against several Cook County officials, including Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, who has enforced the law. Her spokeswoman declined to comment. 

A spokeswoman for Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said his office has not been asked to intervene.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and covering the equity beat. Maureen joined the Illinois Issues in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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