The Name and Gender Change Process–Where to Start

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Among the many ways the future Trump administration is considering eroding rights and freedoms is reducing health care access and protections for transgender people.  Thus, there is an urgent need to get identity documents in order before the end of the year so community members do not need to go back into the closet.

Attorneys:  The ACLU of Oregon is training attorneys to be well versed on how to support transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) people on changing their identity documents. If you need an attorney, please email the ACLU of Oregon at info@aclu-or.org. Staff at ACLU will match you with an attorney.   

Trans ID Clinics: Community partners are hosting two name change clinics this month with copies of forms, FAQs, guidance from amazing people who understand the processes, and check in with providers who can sign off on letters and forms or schedule you for appointments to get letters. Documents we will be addressing include: passports, social security, military ID, state issued ID (including driver’s licenses), birth certificates, and court orders for name and gender marker changes. 

  • Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 5 to 9 p.m., Q Center, 4115 N Mississippi Ave, Portland. RSVP here
  • Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 5 to 8 p.m., Wayward Lamb, 150 W Broadway, Eugene. RSVP here. 

If you’re considering updating your gender marker or name, please consider the following:

BORN IN OREGON

Name and Gender Change Court Orders

Remember legal name and gender changes must be ordered by an Oregon judge, so people born in Oregon must start their process at the county court house. This process can take up to eight weeks and typically involves making two trips to the courthouse, one to file your name and/or gender change petition and another to attend the assigned court hearing. The available court paperwork, fees and procedures may vary among Oregon’s 36 counties.

  • Visit the family law clerk at the local county courthouse who will help you locate the appropriate paperwork to file your name and/or gender change. The Oregon Judicial Department’s Family Law Program does provide paperwork online at http://courts.oregon.gov/OJD/OSCA/JFCPD/Pages/FLP/Forms-Name-Sex-Change.aspx, but not all counties use the same paperwork or have paperwork available.
  • Note: People under age 18 will need to have a parent or legal guardian file for them.
  • You will need to submit filing fees with your completed paperwork with the family law clerk, who will schedule your hearing date and then post notice of the name change.
  • Take note that Oregon’s gender change statute asks the petitioner A.) whether they have 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 answer affirmatively to both these questions to satisfy the state’s requirement for gender change. Some counties, like Lane County, may have additional forms or requirements.

Getting A New Oregon Driver’s License

In order 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:

  • Submit an Application for a new ID;
  • Pay the required fee;
  • Provide a court order certifying the name change, if relevant, and/or;
  • 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.
  • 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

Changing your birth certificate

Oregon does not have a surgical requirement to change the gender on a birth certificate. People must getting a court order for gender change, and some counties have  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.

Forms                                    

OR Vital Records Order Form

OR Signed Statement of Name Change

Oregon Vital Statistics Birth Certificate Gender Change Instructions

BORN OUTSIDE OF OREGON

If you reside, but were not born in Oregon, the name and gender change process may depend on the requirements of the state you were born in. That’s because name and/or gender change orders must meet the requirements of changing the name and gender on the birth certificate, which means there may be up to 50 different processes.

However, states such as Idaho, Ohio and Tennessee have no means of amending the gender on a birth certificate, while Kansas refuses to authorize its vital record department to grant birth certificate gender changes. California does not require a court order, because it can be changed through the courts or an administrative process. While more and more states are not requiring surgical procedures for gender change, many still do.

Both Lambda Legal’s FAQ for legal documents and the National Center for Transgender Equality’s ID Document Center list the requirements to file for a gender change in your state of origin. While court orders filed in Oregon can be accepted in other states, you will not be able to use a gender change form at the county courthouse. Either contact an attorney in Oregon or contact an attorney in your birth state who understands the processes and requirements, so you can file a court petition and order to get your documents changed.

  • Visit the family law clerk at the local county courthouse 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 at http://courts.oregon.gov/OJD/OSCA/JFCPD/Pages/FLP/Forms-Name-Sex-Change.aspx, but not all counties use the same paperwork.
  • You will need to submit filing fees with your completed paperwork with the family law clerk, who will schedule your hearing date and then post notice of the name change. Remember that filing fees may vary by county.
  • If filing a gender change or a name and gender change, make sure the court petition and order meets the requirements of changing your birth certificate gender marker in your birth state. Contact an attorney in Oregon or in your birth state if you need assistance in preparing the court order and petition.

Oregon 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:

  • Submit an Application for a new ID;
  • Pay the required fee;
  • Provide a court order certifying the name change, if relevant, and/or;
  • 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.
  • 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.

Changing Your Birth Certificate

Follow the process of your birth state to file your birth certificate. If you were born in Idaho, Kansas, Ohio or Tennessee, you currently do not have the option of amending your court order, and several other states have surgical requirements for amending a birth certificate. People from these states may get a U.S. Passport with a changed gender to serve as an alternative document to a birth certificate. 

NON-BINARY GENDER DESIGNATION

In June 2016, Jamie Shupe, a non-binary identified petitioner living in Multnomah County became the first person in the country granted a court order listing their legal gender as non-binary. Since that time, several other petitioners in Multnomah County and at least one in Polk County have achieved this change in the courts. While affirming of a person’s lived experience, seeking a court order for legal gender recognition as nonbinary also has additional considerations as followed.

Name and Gender Change Court Orders

The petition must list nonbinary as the person’s gender. In Multnomah County, nonbinary people can use the same form as those transitioning from female to male or male to female, and medical providers can provide documentation of transition letters to provide support for your legal gender change to nonbinary.

Some counties may require the assistance of an attorney to draft and file court orders and petitions for nonbinary persons, and be aware that judges may not be familiar with the term nonbinary.

DMV and Vital Records

Because the relative newness of the nonbinary legal designation, people are currently unable to get their Oregon driver’s license or Oregon birth certificate changed to reflect their gender, but efforts are underway to create a process in Oregon to accommodate these new court orders.

The Federal Real ID act requires that a gender marker be on the front of all state issued driver’s licenses or official identification documents, so there’s currently no option to eliminate gender markers from Oregon driver’s licenses without being not in compliance with federal law.

For out-of-state birth certificates, currently no state has changed their vital records forms to accommodate gender changes for nonbinary persons, but contacting the vital record office directly would be the best course of action to determine whether your birth certificate can be changed.

Non-Binary on Federal Documents

The federal government does not currently recognize nonbinary as a gender option on U.S. Passports with Social Security, although the U.S. State Department does accept passports from foreign counties with a third gender marker designation. However, people using their nonbinary court order at the Social Security Administration offices to change their name, not their gender, on their social security card should be able to do so. See below for the requirements to change federal documents.

FEDERAL DOCUMENTS

Changing Gender with Social Security

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.

 

2016-11-18T11:44:18+00:00 November 17th, 2016|Featured, News, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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