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Current, former transgender inmates file lawsuit to challenge Texas' name-change statute

The statute prohibits a convicted felon from changing his/her name until two years after discharge or completion of probation.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: The attached video related to the University of Texas Police Department undergoing transgender awareness training was published in October 2019.

Three current and former transgender inmates have filed a lawsuit against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton in an effort to challenge the constitutionality of the state's name-change statute.

According to Texas Family Code 45.103, a convicted felon cannot change his or her name until at least two years have passed since the person was discharged or since the person served probation.

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The plaintiffs – three transgender women – claim "incarcerated trans people who are denied the opportunity to change their names are at substantially heightened risk of depressive symptoms and suicide."

The women who filed the lawsuit allege they can't change their names because either they are currently incarcerated or haven't served probation.

The 14-page lawsuit was filed in December 2019 but was served Thursday.

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Attorneys with the Austin Community Law Center, with guidance from the Trans Pride Initiative, are representing the plaintiffs.

There are between 1,000 and 1,500 transgender people in Texas prisons, according to TPI. 

You can read a full copy of the lawsuit below:

WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS AUSTIN DIVISION DONNA LANGAN, § TERESA DE BARBARAC, and § ALEXANDRA CARSON § Plaintiffs, § § Cause No. 1:19-cv-1182 v. § § GREG ABBOTT, in his Official Capacity as § Governor of Texas; and § KEN PAXTON, in his Official Capacity as § Attorney General of Texas § Defendants.

KVUE has reached out to the defendants for a statement. This story will be updated if received.

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