IN RE: the Application of Leah Uri WINN-RITZENBERG for Leave to Change His/Her Name To Olin Yuri Winn-Ritzenberg

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Supreme Court, Appellate Term, New York.

IN RE: the Application of Leah Uri WINN-RITZENBERG for Leave to Change His/Her Name To Olin Yuri Winn-Ritzenberg, Petitioner-Appellant.

Decided: October 21, 2009

PRESENT:  McKEON, P.J., SCHOENFELD, SHULMAN, JJ. Brenna K. DeVaney, Benjamin P. Edwards, Daniel M. Gonen and Janson Mao, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, New York City (Michael D. Silverman and M. Dru Levasseur of counsel), for appellant. Elizabeth Cooper, Suzanne B. Goldberg, Zachary A. Kramer, Sylvia A. Law and Dean Spade, and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York City (Maeve O'Connor and Andrew Gilden of counsel), and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, New York City (Hayley Gorenberg and Cole Thaler of counsel), amici curiae.

 Appeal from order (Manuel J. Mendez, J.), dated February 27, 2009, deemed an application by petitioner for review pursuant to CPLR 5704(b) (see Matter of Washington, 216 A.D.2d 781, 628 N.Y.S.2d 837 [1995] ), and so considered, order reversed, without costs, and the matter remitted to Civil Court for entry of an order granting the petition consistent herewith.   We exercise our discretion under CPLR 5704(b) and grant the transgendered petitioner's application for a name change corresponding with petitioner's male gender identity.   The record shows that petitioner satisfied the requirements for a name change under Section 61 of the Civil Rights Law by specifying the grounds for the application and disclosing pertinent background information (see Matter of Golden, 56 A.D.3d 1109, 867 N.Y.S.2d 767 [2008] ).   In the absence of evidence of fraud, misrepresentation, or interference with the rights of others, the name change petition should have been granted (see Application of Halligan, 46 A.D.2d 170, 171-172, 361 N.Y.S.2d 458 [1974] ).   There is no sound basis in law or policy to engraft upon the statutory provisions an additional requirement that a transgendered-petitioner present medical substantiation for the desired name change.   “[A]part from the prevention of fraud or interference with the rights of others, there is no reason-and no legal basis-for courts to appoint themselves the guardians of orthodoxy in such matters” (Matter of Guido, 1 Misc.3d 825, 828, 771 N.Y.S.2d 789 [2003] ).   In granting petitioner's application, we do not address the separate issue of whether petitioner has changed gender for legal purposes (see Matter of Golden, 56 A.D.3d at 1111, 867 N.Y.S.2d 767;  see also Matter of Anonymous, 64 Misc.2d 309, 310, 314 N.Y.S.2d 668 [1970] ).