For transgender people, correcting one’s name and gender marker on government-issued IDs can be a life-changing milestone. That’s where attorney Adam H. Miller, of Miller Law LLP (also known as “The Texas Bulldog”), comes in. In honor of Pride Month, Miller is giving back to the LGBTQ community by offering free assistance with name and/or gender-marker changes.
“There are a lot of people who want their name changed to [reflect] who they are,” says Miller. “I’m willing to help anyone in the LGBTQ community. I’ll prepare all the paperwork and go with them to the hearing, free of charge.”
His Pride Month offer comes from the heart. After his 26-year-old daughter Rachel came out as queer when she was 9, he became a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights.
On June 1, Adam called Rachel and wished her a happy Pride Month. “She said, ‘That’s great, Dad, but what are you doing for Pride Month to help us?’” Miller recalls, explaining that the conversation inspired him to act. “I do this to make my daughter proud of me.”
Getting a legal name and/or gender change in Texas requires filing a petition in court. The paperwork must include information on any felonies or Class A or B misdemeanors you have been charged with. Those with a felony crime on their record must prove they have a pardon—or that it’s been at least two years since the charge. Those who are registered as sex offenders must notify local law enforcement about the name-change petition.
Most of the paperwork and instructions for Texas residents can be found at the National Center for Trans Equality’s website. According to the Center, Texas does not have a specific gender-change provision in its statutes, and therefore some county judges are averse to issuing the necessary court orders for changing gender markers. The Texas Vital Statistics office requires a court order to issue a new birth certificate with an updated gender marker.
“Generally, you need at least one doctor’s letter that certifies you are receiving clinically appropriate treatment with respect to your gender identity,” Miller says. “Some judges may require multiple letters, including proof of certain treatments such as surgery, and some judges may not grant [a change in your gender marker] at all.”
Travis County has the most streamlined gender-marker updating process, and Harris County residents can even file for a petition in Travis County electronically, according to the Center. For that reason, Miller plans to e-file in Travis County for all of his Harris County clients who want to update both their name and gender marker.
“Anybody could do it themselves,” says Miller, “but I’m just offering to help to smooth the process. With a lawyer by your side, there’s nothing to fear. The only thing you need to pay is the court filing fee, which in Travis County is about $300. And if you can’t afford that, I can file papers to ask the court to waive the fee. Once the judge signs the order, Miller Law Firm will provide you with the information you need to change your Social Security card, driver’s license, passport, and any other government document.”
In 2015, the U.S. Transgender Survey found that 32 percent of respondents who presented ID that did not reflect their gender presentation were “verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.” According to the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, two out of three trans people fear that the name-change process will be too complex, and possibly biased against them.
Miller’s firm primarily handles personal injury cases, although he has processed many name-change applications in the past. He is also the founder of Trial Warriors for Justice, a national association of about 1,000 lawyers who are dedicated to helping injured people with their lawsuits.
Miller notes that his Pride Month offer to the LGBTQ community is simply his way of saying, “I see you, and I thank you.
“And if anyone gets in the way of my LGBTQ friends, this Texas Bulldog doesn’t just bark—he bites.”
For more information, contact Miller Law LLP at texasbulldoglaw.com or 713-572-3333.