(WB) Trans Maryland (formerly Trans Healthcare MD) is now offering free digital name change assistance to trans Marylanders.

“This program has been a year and a half in the making, and we are thrilled to announce that we’ve served over 20 people in the first week alone,” said Lee Blinder, executive director and founder of Trans Maryland. “Not every trans person changes their name, but we are thrilled to expand access to this service.”

According to Blinder, the program covers the cost of filing the name change petition with a court, posting requirements, a new ID, a new birth certificate, and printing and mailing fees.

Blinder has set up a donation page for the name change service on Facebook, with a $5,000 goal. The page has raised more than $3,000 since April 21.

For an adult Marylander to change their legal name, they must file a Petition for Change of Name in the circuit court of the county in which they live, then have the request published in a local newspaper. The publication requirement may or may not be waived by the court. 

House Bill 427, a bill currently making its way through the Maryland General Assembly, would require that courts waive the publication requirement.

According to a Feb. 3 blog post by Trans Maryland, the passage of this bill into law would serve to protect the privacy and make the name change process “quicker and more affordable.”

The bill passed in the Maryland House of Delegates by a 139-0 vote margin. 

A hearing scheduled to take place in the Maryland Senate on March 17 was canceled on March 15. No action has been taken since.