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Transgender Name Changes - Local Court Procedures

Name change based on a gender change is a relatively new procedure in many court systems. The authority for a court order to change one's name based on a gender change is based on state statute. But the statutory schemes in almost all states give the courts some discretion as to whether to grant a name change. As a result, some courts have imposed additional requirements that are specifically directed to name changes because of a change in gender.

In some states you need a court order to change your gender marker, while other states may accept a certified letter from your physician or therapist attesting to your gender identity. It is recommended that you have at least a letter from your physician (or medical professional, as required by your state) before beginning the name or gender marker change process. If required, the court order can be combined with a court order for a Name Change. California provides for a combined Gender Change and Name Change. In many other states the process for a gender change is different than the process for a name change.

Depending on the state, the first step may be getting the legal name change. As for the name change reason asked in most name change forms, many of the state resources explain that as long as you are not trying to commit fraud or have illegal intent, which is a standard requirement for any name change, the reason given in the documents should be somewhat brief - for example, depending on the state's requirements, the reason stated could be as simple as "This is the name I prefer to use and I want to obtain proper identification." Review the offered state materials below carefully.

As we become aware of information sources related to these state-specific court procedures we will list them here, as part of the legal information we offer within our Web Site.

 

Arizona

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Arizona. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change on your birth certificate and other identity documents. It is recommended that you first obtain a physician's letter explaining your gender status. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change, change gender and name with the Social Security Administration, Arizona Driver's License name and gender change, Arizona birth certificate name and gender change, and US Passport name and gender change.

Arkansas

Changing name and gender are separate prodecures in Arkansas. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change on your birth certificate and other identity documents. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change, change gender and name with the Social Security Administration, Arkansas Driver's License name and gender change, Arkansas birth certificate name and gender change, and US Passport name and gender change.

California

California has two different procedures: one for a Gender Change and one for a Name Change Based on Gender. These processes can be combined in the same action. A court order changing one's gender is similiar to a name change order. The primary difference is that you will need a letter signed by a physician saying that you have undergone "clinically appropriate treatment" for gender transition. Also, you can file your gender change petition in any California county, not just the one where you live, and you are not required to publish a notice of your gender change in the newspaper.

Colorado

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Colorado. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change on your birth certificate and other identity documents. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change, change gender and name with the Social Security Administration, Colorado Driver's License name and gender change, Colorado birth certificate name and gender change, and US Passport name and gender change.

District of Columbia

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Washington, D.C. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change on your other identity documents. A "Gender Designation Form" is required to change your gender marker on your driver's license. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change, change gender and name with the Social Security Administration, Driver's License name and gender change, birth certificate name and gender change, and US Passport name and gender change. NOTE: The name change forms and materials offered online by the D.C. Courts is not the current material. You will likely need to go to the courthouse in person to request the name change packet in order to receive the current set of forms.

Florida

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Florida. Sexual reassignment surgery is not a prerequisite to having the gender marker changed on a Florida driver's license (other requirements do exist). Below is information on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change, change gender and name with the Social Security Administration, Florida Driver's License name and gender change, Florida birth certificate name and gender change, and US Passport name and gender change.

Georgia

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Georgia. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change on your birth certificate and other identity documents.

Illinois

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Illinois. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change on your birth certificate and other identity documents. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change, change gender and name with the Social Security Administration, Illinois Driver's License name and gender change, Illinois birth certificate name and gender change, and US Passport name and gender change.

Maryland 

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Maryland. Information is offered below on laws and procedures for changing name and gender on Social Security, MVA, U.S. Passport, and other identity documents in Maryland.

Masschusetts

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Massachusetts. Information is offered below on laws and procedures for changing name and gender on identity documents in Massachusetts.

Nevada

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Nevada. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change. Information is offered below on laws and procedures for changing name and gender on identity documents in Nevada.

New Jersey

Changing name and gender are separate steps in New Jersey. Information is offered below on laws and procedures for changing name and gender on identity documents in New Jersey.

New Mexico

Changing name and gender are separate steps in New Mexico. Information is offered below on laws and procedures for changing name and gender on identity documents in New Mexico.

New York State and New York City

Changing name and gender are separate steps in New York. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change on your birth certificate and other identity documents. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change, change gender and name with the Social Security Administration, NY Driver's License name and gender change, NY birth certificate name and gender change, and US Passport name and gender change.

Pennsylvania

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Pennsylvania. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change on your birth certificate and other identity documents. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change, change gender and name with the Social Security Administration, Pennsylvania Driver's License name and gender change, and a Pennsylvania birth certificate name and gender change.

Tennessee

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Tennessee. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change and change gender on a Tennessee Driver's License. Tennessee law (TN Code 68-3-203) prohibits the change of gender marker on original birth certificates when a result of sex change surgery.

Texas

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Texas. Changing gender requires a verified court order of the sex change. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change and on changing gender on other identity documents.

Virginia

Changing name and gender are separate steps in Virginia. You can file for a name change before applying for a gender marker change on your birth certificate and other identity documents, however judges in many jurisdictions have requested a letter from a medical or mental health professional attesting to the gender or transition status of the filing party before granting the name change. Information is offered below on how to obtain a court-approved legal name change, change gender and name with the Social Security Administration, Virginia Driver's License name and gender change, and a Virginia birth certificate name and gender change.

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