Identification and Gender Marker Documents

Changing your name and gender markers can be long, detailed and sometimes tedious process. It is important to know that there is no national uniform process to address name and gender marker changes – each state or federal agency, organization, and company may have different requirements to change your name and gender marker. While this can be frustrating, here is one approach to help you get the initial documents that should pave the way to make all other name and gender marker changes easier. Also, please note: this is a suggested sequence and there may be different factors to take account of when pursuing a name and gender change, such as country or state of birth, as well as the county you live in.

The National Center for Transgender Equality website has an identification document center that provides information on process of changing your birth certificate in all 50 states. For more information, click here.

Sequence of Changing Identity Documents

1. Obtain a Court Ordered Name Change
2. Obtain a Court Ordered Gender Change
3. Change Name and Gender with Social Security Administration
4. Change of Name and Gender with Oregon DMV
5. If born in Oregon – Change name and gender on birth certificate
6. Change Name and Gender on Passport

What’s Required to Change My Name?

The process to legally change your name can take up to 8 weeks and often requires two trips to the county courthouse – a trip to file your petition for name change, and a trip to attend a hearing to change your name. It is possible to change your name and gender at the same time.

1. Visit your local county courthouse and ask to be directed to the family law clerk, who will help you locate the appropriate paperwork to file your name change. The Oregon Judicial Department’s Family Law Program does provide paperwork online here, but do take note that not all counties will accept and use the same paperwork. If you are using this paperwork, do ask if this can be used in your own county.

2. Each county should have a packet of documents for you to complete, and instructions on how to complete them, including the requirements to change your name. You will need to complete and file your paperwork with the clerk and post notice of the name change (location varies by county).

3. Take note that Oregon’s gender change statute asks the petitioner A.) if they have or not undergone surgical, hormonal or other treatment appropriate for me for the purpose of gender transition, and B.) if they declare that sexual reassignment is complete. You must be able to fill out both of these boxes to satisfy the state’s requirement for gender change. When you file your paperwork with the clerk, you will schedule your hearing date. Depending on your county the date may be as long as 8 weeks away; often times you can get an earlier date.

4. Filing fees vary by county.

5. Do note that in June 2016, a Multnomah County judge granted the first known court order stating the petitioner has a legal non-binary gender designation, and the implications of this decision is vast and uncertain. While there may have been others who have petitioned the courts to seek a non-binary court order since the ruling, it’s not known if other Oregon counties have granted the petitions, while some state agencies in Oregon are currently determining what implementation of the ruling will involve. As of September 2016, Oregon has not issued a non-binary driver’s license or birth certificate and what impact the court order could have outside of Oregon is uncertain.

A legal name and/or gender change must be ordered by a judge in Oregon.
If you were not born in Oregon, do be mindful of the birth certificate requirements of your state of birth when filing your court order. Currently, Idaho, Tennessee, and Ohio do not provide means for transgender people to alter their birth certificates. Kansas has a process for changing the gender marker on a birth certificate, but their Department of Vital Records has no authority to do so.

What’s Required to Change the Gender Marker on My Driver’s License?

Now people can fill out an easy gender marker change form to change their gender designation on their driver license and IDs. This form asks the applicant to fill out the gender marker they wish to have listed on their license or ID card, and to have a service provider or medical provider sign the form. Please note that you do not need to provide proof of surgery to have your name changed or a court ordered gender marker change. You are also eligible to receive a new photo when you apply to change your DMV gender marker.

Oregon’s Driver’s License Policy & Procedures

To update name and/or gender on an Oregon ID, the applicant must apply in person, turn in their current Oregon license, permit, or ID, and do the following:

1. Submit an Application for a new ID;

2. Pay the required fee;

3. Provide a court order certifying the name change, if relevant, and/or;

4. Submit one of the below documents that accurately reflects gender identity:

• A DMV Change of Gender Designation Form (Form 735-7401),

• A certified court order of gender change,

• A U.S. government-issued birth record amended with the desired gender, a U.S. passport amended with the desired gender.

5. Take a new photograph at the DMV office. The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles addresses name change here. Applicants must notify the DMV of a legal name change within 30 days of the name change.

Forms

OR Application for New ID

OR Gender Designation Change Form

OR Department of Motor Vehicles Name Change Information

What Process Does Oregon Require to Change My Gender on My Birth Certificate?

In 2014, Oregon removed surgery requirements to get a gender marker changed on an Oregon birth certificate. Individuals now can get a new birth certificate by getting a court order for gender change and submitting the order, a vital records order form, a signed statement of name change, and a fee to the Oregon Center for Health and Vital Statistics.

To get a court order for gender change in Oregon, you will need to apply at your local courthouse and bring a letter to the judge stating that you have “undergone surgical, hormonal, or other treatment appropriate for [you] for the purpose of gender transition and that sexual reassignment has been completed.” ORS 33.460. For youth, undergoing appropriate treatment and completing gender transition may simply include a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, counseling support of gender transition, puberty blockers (depending on the individual’s age), and/or living in the gender they identify as. The main elements that need to be in the letter are a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, documentation of appropriate treatment for the individual (which could just be counseling), and acknowledgment that the individual has completed gender transition. The full instructions to file a court order of a change of sex can be found here.

Forms

OR Vital Records Order Form

OR Signed Statement of Name Change

OR Vital Statistics Birth Certificate Gender Change Instructions

How Do I Change the Gender in My SSA Record?

To change your gender marker record on file with Social Security, you will need to submit one of the following:
1. A U.S. passport showing the correct gender,
2. A court order recognizing the correct gender,
3. A birth certificate showing the correct gender, or
4. A signed letter from a provider confirming you have had appropriate clinical treatment for
gender transition.

If you use a physician letter, there are very specific instructions and requirements to follow and they can be found by visiting National Center for Transgender Equality’s ID document center here.

How Do I Change My Passport to Reflect My New Gender Designation?

In June 2010, the State Department issued a new policy that makes it easier for transgender people to get a passport that affirms their correct gender identity. Under the new policy, a transgender person can get an updated passport by submitting a certification from a physician confirming that they have undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. A physician certification is a letter from a licensed physician with whom you have a patient relationship, and who is familiar with your transgender health care history. Under the new policy, a physician certification is required if all the documents you submit with your application (driver’s license, birth certificate etc.) do not document your gender. For full instructions see the National Center for Transgender Equality’s identity document center here.

Additional Resources

Full text of the new policy: US State Department Foreign Affairs Manual, 7 FAM 300 Appendix M: Gender Change

US State Department Passport Home

US State Department, Change Your Name in Your Passport

US State Department, FAQ: Passports and Citizenship Documents

National Passport Information Center; 1-877-487-2778

Passport adjudicators and consular officers must not ask for additional medical information from the applicant. The best way to submit this information is with an accompanying DS-5504 form, but if you have had a valid passport for longer than one year you may need to file a DS-82 form instead. Both of these forms are available online at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/forms.html.

Note that since the State Department’s change of regulations for passports, these requirements have changed slightly, and interpretation is new and varying. For an up-to-date guide on the new policy, read the National Center for Transgender Equality’s analysis at http://transequality.org/Issues/federal_documents.html#passport_gender.

Changing Gender or Name on Immigration Documents 

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services issues a variety of documents that show identity and immigration status in the United States. These include, but are not limited to, Employment Authorization Documents, Refugee Travel Documents, Permanent Resident Cards, and Naturalization Certificates. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows individuals to update the name and/or gender marker on immigration documents through the procedures described in detail at the National Center for Transgender Equality at www.transequality.org.

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Hate Crimes

Reporting Hate Crimes in Oregon

The number of reported hate crimes are on the rise across the country and even here in Oregon, where hate crime incidents have targeted schools, Muslims, immigrants and other minority groups.

What is a hate crime?

Under Oregon Law, a hate crime is offensive physical contact, threatening or inflicting physical injury, threatening or causing property of damage towards a person or persons because perception of their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or national origin.  These also include the desecration of places of worship or religious objects, and may also include a family member, for instance threats against a family member who comes out as LGBTQ.

When is bias a crime?

Just because someone uses derogatory or defaming language doesn’t mean that language is unlawful, as much of biased language may be protected by the first amendment. Bias may be criminal when it is targeted at a member of a protected class, such as race, color, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or national origin, and that person feels they’ve been victimized through intimidation. During these moments, law enforcement may investigate to determine whether there is probable cause for bias in the crime.

What do I do if I witness or become a victim of a hate crime?  Courtesy: Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crime.

  • Report the emergency to law enforcement by calling 911. Many cities have dedicated detectives who will investigate the case. The city of Portland, for instance, has a division for assaults and bias crimes.
  • Hate crimes can also be anonymously reported to the Oregon Department of Justice, however using their form is not a substitute for filing a police report with federal, state and local law enforcement.
  • Civil rights offenses should be reported to one of the three Oregon U.S. Attorney’s offices.

Portland (503) 727-1000, Eugene (541) 465-6771 or Medford (541) 776-3564)

  • Criminal and suspicious behavior of terroristic, bias-motivated nature or hate crimes that involve interstate threats, which also include crimes over the internet, should be reported to the Portland Office of the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or portland@ic.fbi.gov. The Federal Bureau of Investigation collects hate crime data, including on LGBT persons, available here .
  • The Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crime also collects hate crime incidents, even if you have not reported them to authorities, and they keep reports confidential. They can also connect people to available resources.

What if I suspect law enforcement of profiling or bias?

  1. Contact the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. The ACLU of Oregon also has their own mobile justice app designed to document police interactions and send them to the ACLU.
  2. In 2015, the state of Oregon approved a statewide governor appointed committee called the Law Enforcement Contacts and Policy and Data Review Committee (LECC), which assists Oregon law enforcement with data collection and analysis to improve community relations, training and make policy recommendations. People can make profiling complaints to the LECC by going here.

Additional Resources for Reporting Civil Rights Violations & Discrmination

Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI):  http://www.oregon.gov/boli/CRD/Pages/C_Crcompl.aspx

Oregon Fair Housing Council:  http://www.fhco.org/information-for-housing-consumers

Disability Rights Oregon: https://droregon.org/need-help/get-help/

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm

City of Eugene Human Rights Commission: https://www.eugene-or.gov/526/Human-Rights-Commission

City of Portland Human Rights Commission: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/62221?

City of Salem Human Rights and Relations: http://www.cityofsalem.net/CityCouncil/humanrights/Pages/default.aspx

What about bullying and harassment in schools?

With the passage of the Oregon Safe Schools Act in 2012, the Oregon Department of Education updated their laws on bullying, harassment and intimidation in public schools. The law includes activities that happen on or near school grounds, at school sponsored events, on school provided transportation or bus stops and instances of cyberbullying.

The Oregon Department of Education lists guidelines for reporting bullying and harassment in schools.

The law requires school districts to adopt policies that prohibit bullying, require employees to report instances of bullying, allow students or volunteers to report it anonymously and create a uniform procedure for how bullying is reported.  Each district has its own process for filling a bullying complaint, and these policies are required to be readily available at school offices, school district offices and on the district website if available.

If you’re not satisfied with the school’s response, there are continued processes which request the district to review the actions of the school, and eventually the Oregon Department of Education, through their Hearings and Appeals process.

Oregon Department of Education: Filing a Complaint: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1994

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Second Parent Adoption

The most common way that LGBT non-biological parents get parental rights over their children is through a process over referred to as second parent adoption. This is a court order by which a co-parent adopts their partner’s parental rights, regardless of marital status, providing the child with two legal parents with equal legal status in terms of their relationship to the child

With the Trump administration taking office in January 20th and the eventual placement of new conservative justices on the Supreme Court, there’s concern on the part of gay and lesbian parents on the future of their parental rights, including the ability to get a second parent adoption.

Is my current second parent adoption under threat?

The ability of LGBTQ Oregonians to get second parent adoptions significantly pre-dates the landmark 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, because adoption and parental rights are determined at the state and county level, not at the federal level. Oregon is one of several states that have allowed second parent adoptions by unmarried same-sex couples in some of their county court levels, such as Multnomah County, so any reversal of the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling would not end the ability of Oregonians to pursue second parent adoptions. Any court judgement issued in an Oregon court are recognized from state to state as part of constitutional rule, so second parent adoptions granted in Oregon establish parental rights in all 50 states regardless of any change in federal law. So if you have a second parent adoption ruling, any change at the federal level will not impact your parental rights.

Should I get a second parent adoption now?

Even with marriage equality being the law of the land throughout all 50 states, it’s still a highly recommended practice among legal experts for non-biological parents to adopt their children. Having your name on the birth certificate does not guarantee protections if your legal rights are challenged in court. A second parent adoption could be beneficial if there is any challenge to one’s parental rights at the federal level. 

Those who are currently in a same-sex marriage or a registered Oregon domestic partnership may want to adopt their non-biological children through stepparent adoption procedures in the state of Oregon to ensure their parental rights. Parents should have to adopt their own children, but it is highly recommended for LGBTQ parents in Oregon to get a court order ensuring their parent rights are protected in all 50 states, regardless of how adoption law may change in other states if they move or travel.

Transgender people can become legal parents by birth, by adoption, or, in Oregon, by operation of the marriage, domestic partnership, or donor insemination statute. In most cases, a parent’s gender identity and expression should not affect that person’s rights to custody or parenting time.

Who can’t get a second parent adoption?

If the child already has two legal parents, one of the parents would have to relinquish their parental rights to grant the second parent adoption. This issue also impacts known donors to couples when the donor has not terminated their parental rights. It would be necessary to obtain written consent of that person with parental rights to the adoption or give them the opportunity to object the adoption in court.

Additional Resources 

Lambda Legal suggests that LGBTQ parents ensure their child’s Social Security number record lists both parents as the child’s legal parents, and obtaining a passport for each child that lists both parents as the child’s legal parents.

Additional resources include:

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Passports

What You Should Know About Passports

With the Presidential election, there’s been a significant increase in transgender people seeking to get a U.S. Passport with an updated gender marker. In 2010, the U.S. State Department put in a new policy which allowed transgender people to have a passport to reflect their current gender by submitting certification from a physician confirming that they have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. While advocates say this policy is unlikely to change, this is not outside the realm of possibility with the change in administration. U.S. State Department’s old policy required documentation of sex reassignment surgery.

Basic Rights Oregon has already created a document which outlines the process of changing the gender marker on your U.S. Passport, which is located here: Securing Identity Documents High Priority for Transgender Communities.  This document provides further considerations for getting a U.S. Passport.

Why do I need a passport?

Besides travel outside the United States:

  1. A U.S. Passport can be used as another form of legal identification at places where you may use a state ID or other documentation, such as domestic travel at airports.
  2. A U.S. Passport can be used as a form of primary documentation indicating country of origin, which can be a substitute for a birth certificate when a birth certificate is requested.
  3. As of November 2016, getting an updated U.S. Passport reflecting current gender can be easier for folks than getting an updated birth certificate, especially if you were born in a state which currently does not amend gender on birth certificates (ID, KS, OH, TN), or has a surgical requirement for transgender people to change their birth certificates. Check the National Center for Transgender Equality ID Document Center or Lambda Legal for information on the process in your state of birth.

What do I need to get a passport?

  1. Application for U.S. Passport (Form DS-11);
  2. Proof of U.S. Citizenship (previous U.S. Passport, certified Birth Certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, or Report of Birth Abroad);
  3. Proof of Identity that contains your signature and photograph that is “a good likeness to you” (such as a previous U.S. Passport, a Driver’s License, a Certificate of Naturalization, Military Identification, or a Government Employee Identification Card). You must present the original AND provide a photocopy of the front and back side with your application;
  4. A recent color photograph 2×2 inches in size;
  5. Name change court order if changing your name.
  6. Physicians letter confirming your gender transition.
  7. Fees, which can vary: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/fees.html

What needs to be in the Physician’s letter?

  1. Physician’s full name (must be a M.D. or D.O.)
  2. Their medical license or certificate number with the issuing state or jurisdiction
  3. The address and telephone of the physician, with the letter preferably on the physician’s letterhead.
  4. Language which states
    1. There is a doctor/patient relationship
    2. The doctor has treated you or has reviewed and evaluated your medical history.
    3. You have had, or in the process of having, appropriate clinical treatment for transition to the updated gender (state: male or female)
    4. “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the forgoing is true and correct.”

The U.S. State Department has a template for the letter here.

What are some additional considerations about passports?

  1. The state department issues two types of passports based on a person’s gender transition.
  2. A fully valid passport for ten years, which states the person filing has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. Anyone should be able to get the 10 year passport, and the ability to get one will depend on the doctor’s willingness to sign.
  3. A limited valid passport for two years, which says the person filing is in the process of getting appropriate clinical treatment, which is good for two years.
  4. Even if the gender marker is changed on a person’s birth certificate, driver’s license or other documentation, the physician’s letter is required for changing the gender marker on the passport.
  5. A gender designation other than male or female is currently not an option on U.S. Passports, but as of November 2016, the U.S. State Department is being challenged in federal court by lawyers on behalf of Dana Zzyym, a Colorado resident who was born intersex.
  6. The typical process time for passports is between 4-6 weeks, while expedited service can take 2 to 3 weeks. If you need a passport sooner, make an appointment at a passport agency or center for travel outside the country at 1-877-487-2778.
  7. Concerned about time? Here’s some time saving considerations.
    1. If changing your name, you don’t need to change your name on your submitted supporting documentation, like your driver’s license, as long as you have a valid name change court order. A passport office can be the next stop after getting the court order, as long as you have the physician’s letter.
    2. Need to put off changing your name? You can still change your gender marker on your passport, then later submit your name change order, a passport photo and form DS-5504 within a year afterwards, and not have to pay additional fees. After a year, there will be fees and different forms. 
    3. Check out this Oregon ID Document Map if you’re concerned about wait times at the Passport offices. Some offices require people to make appointments.

Additional Resources:

Brave Space LLC  (scholarship funding): http://www.bravespacellc.com/

Trans Relief Project (funding): https://transrelief.com/

NCTE’s Know Your Rights:  http://www.transequality.org/know-your-rights/passports

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Additional Resources