A local lawyer has decided to do something positive for the LGBTQ community.
Attorney Andrew Schriver is offering free name change services for transgender people.
Schriver said he thought about doing this for a while, but decided to pull the trigger when a close friend of his needed it done.
"Having done my friend's name change, I realized that it was a very straightforward process in most cases - I wish all of my court appearances were as easy as that one was," Schriver said.
He said it is possible to do name changes on your own.
"However, the nature of the legal system is that any court proceeding is an intimidating process, especially for marginalized communities who tend not to be treated well or fairly by the system. Just having someone present who is comfortable in that environment and knows the law has really seemed to encourage people to take this step who otherwise would have put it off or never done it," Schriver said.
Schriver understands how meaningful a name change can be for people.
"Transgender people face a frankly devastating amount of discrimination in nearly every area of life, and being able to present as true self and your correct gender in the courts, applying for jobs, interacting with police, applying for housing, etc. can help prevent or at least mitigate a lot of that," Schriver said.
Schriver is bisexual and wants people to know that it's important for him to stand in solidarity with other LGBTQ people.
"I think that when people talk about LGBT+ issues we too often forget the 'T,' and that's a disservice to the entire community," he said.
There are two different parts to changing your name: filling out the paperwork and representation at a short court hearing.
Schriver is available to help people for free in Cuyahoga County or an adjoining county. He said anywhere too far outside that area is not workable for him to do for free, but he is willing to help people fill out the paperwork over the phone free of charge.
The filing fee to change your name in Cuyahoga County is $137. Shriver said there is a big need for people needing help with that fee as well.