‘Legally and Medically Trans’ discussed transgender health and identity

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On Tuesday, the Rainbow Center hosted a virtual discussion titled “Legally and Medically Trans,” providing information about the legal identity and medical process many transgender individuals go through.  

One of the speakers, Matthew Kelly, a lawyer in D.C. at the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP, who helps transgender individuals with legal issues. During his presentation, Kelly went over Connecticut’s laws and processes for changing your name and gender. He said at the University of Connecticut, a person can change their name on items such as a diploma, school email and class/roster name. Kelly did specify however that legal documentation is required if an individual wants to change their names on items such as financial aid, a Husky One card, a Core-CT ID and transcripts.  

at the University of Connecticut, a person can change their name on items such as a diploma, school email and class/roster name.

In Connecticut, in order for someone to change their name, they must go to the probate court and provide two forms of identification including one photo ID. Individuals must also bring a Petition for Change of Name form or a PC-901 along with a PC-901CI form — which contains confidential information such as an individual’s social security number. Kelly said it can take up to eight weeks before a person’s name is legally changed. He also mentioned that a person does not have to provide the court with a reason why for the name-change. In order for a person to change their name in Connecticut, they must be a resident of the state for at least 183 days of the year. 

In response to a question about changing someone’s legal name in North Carolina, Kelly said the National Center for Transgender Equality website has entries with information for other states. 

The second and final speaker was Christine Rodriguez, a family nurse practitioner at the University of Saint Joseph. She discussed the process of medically transitioning. She said some transgender individuals use binders, which involve the use of tight fitting sports bras, shirt bandages or a custom-made binder to provide a flat chest contour. Rodriguez also mentioned the term “packing,” which is the placement of a penile prosthesis in one’s underwear. 

A key area that Rodriguez focused on was the dosage rates of taking testosterone and estrogen for the transition process. She said for someone taking testosterone, the recommended amount to take each week is between 50-100 milligrams. For someone using oral estradiol, which is a form of estrogen therapy, she recommends taking two to six milligrams a day. 

One student asked Rodriguez what she thinks is the biggest barrier for transgender individuals in healthcare. 

“It’s so hard to find someone who gets you and who understands the knowledge,” Rodriguez said 

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