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Transgender Mexican Immigrant Sues Pence For Name Change Policy

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter

A transgender immigrant filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over a state law that prevents non-citizens from changing their names.

The plaintiff, named as “John Doe, formerly Jane Doe,” also named two Indiana state officials in the lawsuit, reports The Washington Times. The Transgender Law Center and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed the lawsuit on the plaintiff’s behalf.

The lawsuit, filed in a federal district court, claimed that Indiana’s state law discriminated against her immigrant status and caused her embarrassment. Doe also claims that the law violates her right to protect her “gender identity” and her right to free speech.

“It is embarrassing and puts me in danger of violence and discrimination,” the plaintiff said.

Doe immigrated to the United States as a young girl with her family. Though born a girl, she has spent most of her life living as a man.

While she is listed as a man on all U.S. documents and her Indiana state ID, Indiana House Bill 1047 requires U.S. citizenship for a legal name change.

The plaintiff alleged in the lawsuit that the female name on her ID displays her transgender status and has caused incidents with police officers.

When pulled over by an officer, the plaintiff said the officer did not comprehend why a man had a female name.

“He said I was playing games, and I would be arrested unless I showed him my real ID,” the plaintiff said.

The U.S. granted the plaintiff asylum in 2015 because her transgender status could cause her harm in Mexico, according to the lawsuit.

“The state shouldn’t have to force anyone to out themselves as transgender, at constant risk of their own safety, just because they aren’t citizens,” Isa Noyola, TLC’s director said.

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