In the Matter of the Name Change of M.E.B., M.E.B., Appellant-Petitioner.
from the Orange Circuit Court The Honorable Steven L. Owen,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 59C01-1809-MI-272
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Michael R. Limrick Hoover Hull Turner
LLP Indianapolis, Indiana Megan Stuart Indiana Legal
Services, Inc. Bloomington, Indiana
M.B. is a transgender woman who seeks to change her name and
gender marker. She filed requests to waive publication and
seal the record pursuant to Indiana Administrative Rule 9.
The trial court found that she did not meet her burden under
Rule 9. We disagree. Therefore, we reverse and remand with
instructions that this case shall remain sealed and for
M.B. was assigned male at birth but identifies as female. On
September 24, 2018, M.B. filed a verified petition for change
of name and gender marker and a verified written request to
prohibit public access pursuant to Administrative Rule 9,
asking the trial court to waive the publication requirement
and seal the record.
In support of her request to prohibit public access, M.B.
attested as follows: "I am aware of the high rates of
violence, discrimination, and invasion of privacy against
transgender people in Indiana and nationwide[.] I fear that
if the public knows I am transgender, I will personally
experience violence, discrimination, and an invasion of my
privacy." Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 14. M.B. also
included data about "the high rates of violence,
discrimination,  invasion of privacy," and harassment
both nationwide and in Indiana. Id. at 14-16. She
also noted that she feared for her safety
because of my personal experience with violence and
discrimination in my community. I know of a man in Orange
County who has outspoken anti-trans views and has said that
if he finds out about a trans person, he will kill them. I
have also faced discrimination from pharmacists when they
discovered my gender identity.
Id. at 16.
On November 19, 2018, the trial court held a hearing on
M.B.'s request to prohibit public access. M.B. testified
at the hearing. Among other things, she explained her fears
to the trial court:
• "I believe it would be dangerous [if people
learned that she was changing her name and gender marker].
There's lots of people, both within the United States and
within the State of Indiana that would like to harm
transgender people and there are some in Orange County that I
do know of that it would be dangerous for me and I could get
killed." Tr. Vol. II p. 8.
• "I have [personally faced discrimination based on
gender identity] when picking up my prescriptions at the
Paoli Walmart pharmacy one of the ladies that works there
didn't want to serve me and I had to get someone else to
help me." Id. at 9.
• ". . . I'm on Facebook quite a bit and
there's someone who lives in Paoli, they have a red truck
and they said if they knew someone was transgender and they
saw them they would shoot them." Id.
the hearing, M.B. filed a supplemental memorandum regarding
the request to prohibit public access.
On December 4, 2018, the trial court denied M.B.'s
request to prohibit public access. Among other ...