After felonies and alcoholism, Valley transgender woman fights for name change

Published: Aug. 19, 2016 at 4:34 PM EDT
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A transgender woman in Shenandoah County is fighting to have her name changed to match her gender identity after several felony convictions and struggles with alcoholism.

Kendra Brill was born male but is now a transgender female. To match her gender, she wants to change her legal name from William to Kendra, after her grandfather Kenneth.

"It would mean everything to me because if it wasn't for my grandfather and my grandmother, I wouldn't even be here, because their prayers are what kept me alive," Brill said.

Brill says she struggled with alcoholism and began transitioning in prison, after several felony convictions. In 2014, she submitted an application to Shenandoah County Circuit Court to have her name changed. However, the judge denied the request, writing that he wanted to avoid confusion in the database and citing Virginia law, stating that she must undergo a sex change operation.

But Brill was not finished. She sent the court paperwork stating that she had gender dysphoria, but the judge denied that request as well.

In her mid-30s, she says she isn't ready for sexual reassignment surgery and just wants a simple name, in memory of the grandfather who took her out of tough times.

"My life was gone, I was a walking zombie, I was just waiting to die," Brill said.

Brill says she will be in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Monday and believes the judge will rule in her favor.