15th December 2015

Ben Hoare Bell Partner and Family Solicitor Cris McCurley has worked pro bono to help young transgender people in the local community.

Cris has been able to help 15 young people to change their names by deed poll. This is a huge step for transgender people and enables them to feel more confident when they have to produce ID in any situation.

This week the young people have thanked Cris for all her help.

The young people all attend the gender identity services run by Northern communities charity Developing Initiatives Supporting Communities (DISC) in partnership with Trinity Youth Association. Billijean Summerbell, DISC team leader for LGBT services said:

“Cris is so kind to do what she does for the young people who are in transition. Changing your name is such a big step. It gives people who are trans so much self-confidence. If they open a bank account or have to present ID in any situation, it can be excruciating if your name does not match your gender identity. With their names changed, our service users can really begin to blossom in life and not feel they’re one step away from a course work or nasty look or some other, even violent, humiliation.”

One person Cris was able to help at our Newcastle office, Cauley Jefferson, said a name change was very important to him, he said:

“It feels really good. It is difficult, especially meeting new people, trying to be identified as male and then having to give a female name. It’s a bit of a confidence knock.

Cris is a really warm person who treats everyone with genuine respect. Young people are just skipping when they know she’s sorted out all the legal stuff to make it happen. They hug her. It’s a magical, life changing moment for them.”

Cris had the following to say:

“I am happy to be in a position to help these young transgender people. Changing their given name is crucial. But it’s also daunting and can be complex and costly.”

Cauley Jefferson and Cris McCurley (2)
Cauley Jefferson and Cris McCurley

Here is a video of Cauley changing his name: