Written by: Barry Law Student,  Katherine Krepfle

This topic, transgender name and gender change on legal documents, is prevalent and significant to transgender individuals looking to legally change their name and gender on identity documents and other records. The Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc. understands that it can be difficult to legally assimilate into a new gender. However, we are here to help with this legal transition.

Some feel that making these legal changes may be essential for life, marriage, and most careers. Others think that completing the legal name change is irrelevant and not important to their personal gender transformation. However, taking on a new legal name is significant and could be the first major step in a person’s transition that shows the beginning of a new life in accordance with their new gender identity. Choosing not to legally make the name and gender change on the necessary legal documentation can also place some transgender individuals in situations of heightened risk of violence, harassment, and discrimination.

While this process can seem burdensome and intimidating, we have created an in-depth presentation that will cover the step-by-step process including links and forms to assist with an easy and streamlined legal transition to the new gender of your choice. In completing this legal transition, the initial identification records and documents that are crucial to an individual’s transition include Social Security card, driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, and voter registration. School documentation is also an area that can be changed once these initial legal documents have been changed. Our presentation will cover the specific requirements needed to change and/or modify these identification documents with the state and federal government.

Gender change on birth certificates in many states requires proof of surgery. However, there is a trend toward recognizing this requirement as creating an unfair barrier for most transgender individuals. In 2010, the State Department stopped requiring proof of surgery for issuing passports to transgender people and began asking instead for proof of appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition from a doctor. In 2014, the American Medical Association called for the elimination of the surgery requirement. Since then, the birth certificate is the only remaining document that still requires proof of surgery. Additionally, Tennessee, Idaho, Ohio, and Puerto Rico prohibit gender from being legally changed on birth certificates. However, California, the District of Columbia, Iowa, New York City, New York State, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have all removed the surgical requirements for those applying to change a birth certificate.

The legal name and gender change on identity documents is important, especially when these forms of identification must be consistent to enroll in school, travel, and open bank accounts. Even though the name and gender change process can be complicated and time consuming, we are happy to assist with these hurdles and look forward to providing the information and documentation required to effectuate this legal transition.


See link below for PowerPoint for more details:

Steps on Changing Name and Gender, PowerPoint