Pennsylvania transgender resources

Health

Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference (mazzonicenter.org/trans-wellness)

  • Annual free trans-specific conference
  • Philadelphia Trans Resource Guide (PDF)

Persad Center (persadcenter.org)

  • Serving LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities in western Pennsylvania, with service centers in Pittsburgh and Washington, PA

Allegheny Health Network (ahn.org)

World Professional Association of Transgender Health (wpath.org)

Youth

Mazzoni Center (mazzonicenter.org)

Attic Youth Center (atticyouthcenter.org)

HiTOPS (hitops.org)

Juvenile Law Center (jlc.org)

Main Line Youth Alliance (myaonline.org)

Prysm Youth Center (prysm.us)

Philadelphia Fight (fight.org)

The Brave Heart Foundation of Pittsburgh (tbhfop.org)

  • Advocacy for homeless LGBTQ young adults (18-26).

Legal

National Center for Transgender Equality (transequality.org)

Human Rights Campaign (hrc.org)

Williams Institute (williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu)

Kristine Holt (holtesq.com)

  • Trans lawyer licensed in PA and NJ.

Pennsylvania name change state law

The applicable Pennsylvania law is at 54 Pa.C.S. § 701-705.

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes

NAMES (TITLE 54)
CHAPTER 7. JUDICIAL CHANGE OF NAME

§ 701. Court approval required for change of name
(a) General rule.–It shall be unlawful for any person to assume a different name by which such person is and has been known, unless such change in name is made pursuant to proceedings in court as provided by this chapter.
(b) Informal change of name.–Notwithstanding subsection (a), a person may at any time adopt and use any name if such name is used consistently, nonfraudulently and exclusively.

§ 702. Change by order of court.
(a) General rule.–The court of common pleas of any county may by orderchange the name of any person resident in the county.
(b) Procedure.–Prior to entry of an order of approval of change of name, all of the following shall apply: 
1. The court must forward to the Pennsylvania State Police a duplicate copy of the application for change of name and a set of the person’s fingerprints. The person applying for the change of name is responsible for costs under this paragraph. 
2. The Pennsylvania State Police shall use the fingerprints to determine if the person is subject to 18 Pa.C.S.Ch. 91 (relating to criminal history record information). 
3. The Pennsylvania State Police shall: 
i. if the person is subject to 18 Pa.C.S.Ch. 91, note the name change on the person’s criminal history record information; or 
ii. if the person is not subject to 18 Pa.C.S.Ch. 91, destroy the fingerprints.
4. Within 60 days of receipt of the material under paragraph (1), the Pennsylvania State Police shall certify to the court what action has been taken under paragraph (3). 
5. The procedure in this subsection shall not apply to proceedings involving: 
i. An election to resume a prior surname pursuant to section 704 (relating to divorced person may resume prior name). 
ii. Name changes involving minor children in adoption proceedings pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 2904 (relating to name of adoptee). 
iii. A name change involving a minor child whose name is being changed pursuant to section 703 (relating to effect on children).

Precedent for trans people

In 1998, a trans woman in the process of changing sexes won a legal battle to change her name. Reversing a trial judge, the divided three-judge Superior Court panel in re: Brian Harris, PICS Case No. 97-2655 (Pa Super. Dec.11, 1997) Olszewski, J; Popovich, J. concurring, Saylor, J. dissenting (18 pages), allowed Ms. Harris to change her first name to “Lisa”. The majority said Harris could change her name because she proved her commitment to medical transition.

Appellant was judgment free and was not seeking a name change to avoid any financial obligations or commit fraud.