Breaking news, sports and campus news from Western Kentucky University

WKU students and faculty to host name change clinic at BG Pride

Molly Dobberstein

WKU students and faculty from the Student Legal Education Center and the Professional Legal Studies department will be hosting a name change assistance clinic at Bowling Green Pride. 

The group will be set up from 12:00-5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Circus Square Park, providing information and instructions for individuals wishing to change their name legally.

“We want people to be proud of what they’re doing,” Alexis Kilgore, senior professional legal studies and political science double major said. 


Kilgore values Pride as an opportunity for people in the LGBTQ community to come together, see there is a community that supports them and become aware of opportunities.

Kilgore said she hopes the event opens individual’s minds to new possibilities. 

This is the second year she and other volunteers will be providing name change guidance. Last year was considered very successful, as they handed out over one hundred flyers to individuals, couples and friends and got positive feedback from those they engaged with. 

The department wanted to get involved in the city’s pride event and opted to provide information on legal name changes, something that has been seen at similar events but is not often discussed in Bowling Green. 

“A lot of people think it’s a major process,” Kilgore said, but professor Julie Shadoan, pre-law advisor and attorney, reassures students that it’s “really straightforward.” 

To legally change your name as a current Kentucky resident, there is a form that can be filled out online and taken to the circuit court clerk’s office to be signed. A filing fee must be paid before the county’s district judge reviews the petition and grants or denies the name change, Shandoan said.

With a valid photo ID, individuals do not have to go to court. Once the decree is set, it can be presented to other government bodies to get new documentation, including a new Social Security card, driver’s license, birth certificate, and passport.

Shadoan explained that the department values an expectation of donated service as they train students to become responsible practitioners and instill a commitment to that service. The department aims to provide opportunities for students to become involved and serve the campus and regional communities, bridging the access to justice gap. 

Beyond this, Shadoan hopes their involvement at Pride, and the Pride event itself, will “expose our people and especially the younger people in our community to what equity and fairness are all about,” striving to “respect people regardless of their gender or identity.” 

“The whole pride movement, in a nutshell, is about human rights and empowering LGBTQ individuals to claim those rights. This is just one part of that,” Shadoan said. 

The flyers that will be handed out assert that, for those seeking name changes, “having the ability to use a preferred name in multiple contexts affirms their gender identity and helps lower mental health risks.” 

Shadoan intends for her department to assist in providing community members with “the freedom to choose how they are named and how people refer to them.” The Center hopes to provide these opportunities more frequently by offering name change clinics twice a semester.

The Center also expects that, beyond this, the community will be provided a legal help center or navigation clinic to help citizens understand the complexities of legal processes. For further information, individuals can visit their tent at Pride or contact the Student Legal Education Center, located in Cherry Hall.  

News Reporter Lindsey Coates can be reached at [email protected]

More to Discover