Three trans women fight to overturn a harsh law that binds them to their past.
A feature-length documentary currently in production.
WHAT'S IN A NAME follows three trans women, Tania Cordova, Eisha Love, and Reyna Ortiz, who are suing the state of Illinois to strike down a law that prohibits people with felony convictions from legally changing their names. They are also key activists involved in the effort to pass HB2542, a state bill that strikes down the same law.
A male name on their government ID exposes the women as trans, which opens them up to harassment and danger; after showing their ID cards they have been denied services, housing, and employment. The constant outing causes an enormous amount of stress. Reyna calls it the “walk of shame” when she has to stand up and walk across the waiting room at the doctor’s office after the nurse calls out her deadname.
WHAT'S IN A NAME shares the personal journeys of three women who–at the risk of exposing themselves, not only as trans, but as people with felony backgrounds–are fighting for the fundamental right to choose their own name.
We get to know Tania, Eisha, and Reyna as they share their stories from a particular vantage point that is at the intersection of the most critical issues of our time: racial justice, poverty, immigration, criminal justice, and trans rights. Through an intimate view into the lives of these three women, the film illuminates the failings of a broken justice system, and more importantly, shows impacted people leading the way forward.