So, last week I* went to the Daley center and filed some papers and paid a whole lot of money** to get a court date to have my name legally changed.
In Illinois, there are multiple legal-type forms to fill out, multiple steps to take, and the whole process is a little intimidating. I’m a baby, and so I would have been pretty scared if it wasn’t for…drumroll please….The Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois!
Yeah, for real: the last Friday of every month, there are FREE LAWYERS, courtesy of TJLP, hanging out in the Daley Center, just waiting to fill out all my paperwork and help me file it for free.
Well, I still had to pay the ridiculous filing costs, to the tune of multiple hundreds of dollars (for both modesty and clarity sake, see the specifics here). So if you have lived in Illinois for at least the last six consecutive months, and want to change your name for trans reasons, check this out!
My lawyer, Elizabeth (big thanks to her!), was really friendly: basically she just asked me all the necessary questions (name, SSN, felony status, birthdate, etc), filled out the forms for me, took me up to the counter to do all the filing, took me over to the other counter to publish the change, and all I had to do was shell out the dough. Ouch. It burns me up a bit that it costs straight people Target cashier money to change their name when they get married, but it costs me stripper weekend money to change mine to what it should have been in the first place.
Cest la vie.
So my court date is at the end of August, where I will appear and will hopefully have a judge that’s cool with it. Elizabeth says some judges are hostile: in that case I would ask for a continuance and get another date with a different judge. She also said some judges are great, and get a boner just thinking about how awesome they are to be so benevolent and understanding of our weird tranny shit. I just hope mine is over it and bored and says, “whatever you want kid,” and signs my papers. The best part is that I won’t be alone: TJLP will have a lawyer there waiting to go in with me, and if they notice trouble, will let me know. I have never been in a court room, and am not sure I would know the difference between a hostile judge and a stuffy one. I’m glad they are there to help us poor trans folks in Illinois. I hope other states have similar organizations.
Happy 4th friends!
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli
* Actually, it was me and K.
**Actually, I could not have paid these fees without a generous grant from my fiancee.