SANTA FE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the office of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Friday that she signed House Bill 31 the “Name Change Modernization Act”, and House Bill 207 the “Human Rights Act Expansion.”

According to the news release from Lujan Grisham’s office, these two bills together aim to help create a more “inclusive, safer, healthier state for Queer and Trans New Mexicans.”

According to the release, House Bill 207 aims to create more protections for LGBTQ New Mexicans by expanding definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity and creating definitions of gender and sex. Officials said it also changes outdated language regarding people with disabilities by removing the term “handicapped” from the existing section of the law. The bill also prohibits public entities from discriminating when providing services, entities include the state government, local governments, school districts, and other tax-payers funded services.

“Nationally, we are currently seeing over 430 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures across the country, many of them passing. Many states are going to the extreme by criminalizing even the appearance of trans people in public,” said Marshall Martinez, Executive Director of Equality New Mexico. “I am proud of our legislative champions, our fierce community activists and advocates, other organizations in New Mexico, and Governor Lujan Grisham who have said ‘this will not be that kind of state.”

According to the release, House Bill 31 aims to make changes to the process for legal name changes, simplifying and modernizing the process for anyone who seeks to do so. This legislation aims to remove previous requirements, allowing a judge to grant the name change immediately rather than waiting for this ad to be placed along with receiving records from the local newspaper as proof.

“Trans New Mexicans already face significant burdens in safety and financial hardship. Because of this new law, one of those is removed.  It was dangerous to us to be “outed” in our communities in newspapers, and the cost in some communities was significant enough that many in our community couldn’t finish the name change process.  I am grateful that Rep. Christine Chandler worked with our community to make it easier for us to live our authentic lives honestly, and I am thrilled that Governor Lujan Grisham signed this bill into law today, taking one more step to making New Mexico a safe haven for Trans and Nonbinary people now.” said T Michael Trimm, Executive Director of the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico. 

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