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Supreme Court to hear case on transgender sex-offender registry

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a Shawano County transgender woman who has been prohibited from changing her name because of her listing on the state sex-offender registry.

The plaintiff, identified only as Ella, was placed on the sex-offender registry for a sexual assault she committed as a teenager.

She argues requiring her to register as a sex offender violates her First Amendment rights because the statute’s prohibition against legally changing her name restricts her right to self-expression as being a female, WLUK-TV reported.

She argues the law forces her to identify herself as a male anytime she is required to present her legal name.

The appeals court earlier ruled the circuit court properly rejected her request to not have to register and that the registry’s prohibition on name changes is constitutional.

The state Supreme Court will specifically address two issues.

One question is whether the the statute governing juvenile sex offender registration unconstitutionally infringes on Ella’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech by preventing her from legally changing her name to reflect her gender identity.

Another question is whether requiring Ella to register under the law amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

No date for the oral arguments has been set.

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