CARSON CITY — Transgender witnesses told a legislative panel Tuesday that a requirement to publish their new and original names in a newspaper as part of a legal name change exposes them to discrimination and threats.
The speakers testified in support of Senate Bill 110, which would waive the publication requirement if the reason for the change is to conform a name with an individual’s gender identity.
The bill, introduced by state Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, and cosigned by many other lawmakers, was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which took no immediate action on the measure.
Parks quoted one bit of testimony from the Libertarian Party that described the name change requirement as “needlessly painful.”
Transgender witnesses said the issue is one of personal safety.
“All transgender people have an increased risk of being the victim of violence and discrimination when their identities are exposed, and are faced with a personal safety risk with publication of a name change,” said Brooke Maylath of Reno. “It is a matter of life and death to protect ourselves.”
Blue Montana, a transgender programs manager at The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, said the publication requirement is antiquated and violates the privacy of those seeking a name change.
“SB110 is crucial in allowing us to have the same simple process as our neighboring state, California, and helps to acknowledge our existence legally in a fashion that does not put our lives in jeopardy,” he said.
Francesca Continolo of Sparks said she was subjected to threats when she published her name change information in the Sparks Tribune.
No one spoke in opposition to the bill.
Barry Smith, executive director of the Nevada Press Association, was neutral on the bill. He pointed out that existing law allows the requirement to be waived if an individual can demonstrate that such publication would put the person’s safety at risk.
Parks said his measure appears to be the easiest way of resolving the transgender community’s concerns.