The Missouri state rejected the 8-year-old's name change stating that it only had the authority to make minor changes to the name.
An 8-year-old boy recently celebrated his birthday but wasn't able to receive the gift he wanted — that of a name change. His family said the State of Missouri is not allowing him to change his name. The boy's identity has been kept anonymous and for that sake, we shall refer to him as 'Francis.' He is a transgender and asked for his name to be changed in his birth certificate but the state denied Francis a name change, on account that they were trying to change his identity. Francis identifies as a boy and has done so for a while. His parents accepted him for who he is and has helped him embrace his true self. “Trans kids are normal kids,” said his father, reported Fox 5 Vegas.
Francis has a supportive community around him. “He has tons of friends, he’s really engaged, he didn't used to be that way, he's very alive,” said his mother. His parents said there were many indications over the years that he viewed himself as a boy. Francis always shopped in the boy section and chose boy names when he played imaginary games. Then, one day, he announced to them that he was a boy and not a girl. “The next day, he tried a boy day and there were no more girl days after that,” said his dad. Francis chose a name for himself that very day and now uses it everywhere. Everyone uses his new name and his baseball coaches also use his preferred name.
While he had adopted the name and his community was using it, he couldn't get anything done officially because he hadn't changed his legal name. "I could see how uncomfortable he would get,” said Francis’ mother. He was too interested in a name change until talk of his birthday came up. “One day he said, ‘I think for my eighth birthday, I want to change my name,'" said his mother, before adding. "But he said, 'If I do that, I can still get other presents, too, right?’”
His parents found out that other parents changed their kids' names through the birth certificate correction process. It was available to children at the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records. After they filed the necessary paperwork, they found out his application was rejected. "This affidavit process is for people like my child. There was a mistake on his birth certificate and we are attempting to correct an error," his dad said. The state argued that it wasn't just a name change. "Well no, you are attempting to change your child's identity,” they said. When asked to elaborate, the state refused.
The state merely told Francis' father that he could make changes to same-gender names. "So they would say, 'You can use this to correct Jane to June and Cindy to Sandy, but you cannot use it to make the correction you're trying to make.'" Francis' birthday gift wasn't going to happen in time. He wanted to get his birth certificate framed but it didn't happen. “He has a suit he really likes to wear, so he was going to wear so he was going to put it on, walkout music, and he wanted his birth certificate framed,” his dad said.
The State of Missouri argued that it was just a case of the Bureau of Vital Records not having the authority to change the name. The state argued that it only authorized names with spelling errors or similar sounding spellings. For example, "Jane Doe’s birth certificate from 1990 had her last name spelled “Dow” instead of “Doe” and she submitted a notarized correction affidavit with supporting documentation authorizing the Bureau of Vital Records to make this change. If Jane, however, (regardless of the reason, i.e. transgender) wanted to change (not correct) her name to John, this would require a court order pursuant to RSMo 527.270," said the state.
Jordan Braxton, head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Outreach at Pride St. Louis, said it was 'heartbreaking' and spoke of her own experience. “Yes, children know they are transgender. I knew for the longest time that I was a girl." She added that changing names for trans people in Missouri is difficult because the process is costly, and has exhausting procedures which include having to publish your name in the newspaper for three straight weeks. “It’s very arduous and can be very triggering for some people who don't like to go to courtrooms because most of the time it’s for a bad reason," said Braxton. Francis' parents are frustrated but are determined to get it done, even if it means going through the official court process.