As attitudes to gender fluidity change over time, so too do the rules for representing a change of gender on your vital records. Today there are around 1.4 million transgender people living in the USA and naturally, a change of gender marker and modifications on transgender birth certificates.
In the USA, having access to your correct birth certificate is a crucial tool for accessing many important services such as banking, healthcare, and education. If you’re looking to apply for a driver’s license or a social security card and need proof of identity, you can order your birth certificate online without having to make time to visit your local government office or vital record office and wait in line.
Identity documents, of course, are issued by your state of residence and the rules for any and all alterations vary state-by-state. Therefore it’s important to know what steps you will need to take in order to reflect your new identity.
To make this process a little easier, we’re going to look at some of the guidelines you’ll need to follow in order to update your birth certificate to reflect your change of gender.
Can gender on a Birth Certificate be changed?
The majority of the 50 states allow you to change your birth certificate gender if you are transitioning. This means they will either issue a new birth certificate in your new gender or they will amend your current document with the correct gender markers to reflect your change of gender.
Some flexibility is already given to gender fluidity in specific states. Some states even recognize intersex individuals with a third gender X option as is the case for New York, Washington, New Jersey, and California. In the case of trans individuals, this does not apply and updating gender markers is the way to reflect a change of sex.
As of August 2019, just two US states will not change a person’s gender on a birth certificate at all. This is true of:
However, the process for making changes to official documents like a birth certificate differs depending on which state you live in. It will also hinge on what phase of transition you are in. In some states, you will need to have undergone Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS), whereas others will decide if you’re eligible for a change of gender on your birth certificate based on other criteria.
After SRS only
In around half of US States, you will need evidence of SRS before your birth certificate can be changed into your new gender. This usually requires a court order showing proof of your new sex designation after your reassignment surgery.
Before or after SRS
In some states, the rules are more flexible and you won’t need to prove that you’ve completed sexual reassignment surgery. That means you will be able to change your birth certificate much earlier in your transition.
However, the eligibility rules vary state-by-state for making a change to your vital records and identification documents. In the case of people going through a gender transition, you will often be required to submit supporting documents or medical certification to show you are undergoing a sex change.
Changing Birth Certificate designations
If you’re unsure what you need to do to adjust your birth certificate gender markers based on the state you live in, don’t panic. We’ve prepared a quick guide that will make things a lot simpler.
Can I use my new name on a transgender Birth Certificate?
In most cases, yes. The majority of US states allow you to change your name and gender, subject to a few conditions. These are mostly checks to prevent against fraud and criminal intent and in some cases, a court order may be required in order to change a name on a birth certificate.
Transgender Birth Certificates, ID laws and policies
If you’re looking to reflect a change of gender on your birth certificate, make sure you follow the correct rules for your state:
|Transgender birth certificates laws|
|State||Allowed||Requirements||Type of certificate|
|Alabama||Yes||Not required||New birth certificate|
|Alaska||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Arizona||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Arkansas||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|California||Yes||Not required||New birth certificate|
|Colorado||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Connecticut||Yes||Not required||New birth certificate|
|Delaware||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|D.C.||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Florida||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Georgia||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Hawaii||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Idaho||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Illinois||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Indiana||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Iowa||Yes||Required||New birth certificate|
|Kansas||Yes||Not available||Not available|
|Kentucky||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Louisiana||Yes||Required||New birth certificate|
|Maine||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Maryland||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Massachusetts||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Michigan||Yes||Required||New birth certificate|
|Minnesota||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Mississippi||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Missouri||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Montana||Yes||Not required||New birth certificate|
|Nebraska||Yes||Required||New birth certificate|
|Nevada||Yes||Not required||New birth certificate|
|New Hampshire||Yes||Not required||New birth certificate|
|New Jersey||Yes||Not required||New birth certificate|
|New Mexico||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|New York||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|North Carolina||Yes||Required||New birth certificate|
|North Dakota||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Ohio||No||Not available||Not available|
|Oklahoma||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Oregon||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Rhode Island||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|South Carolina||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|South Dakota||Yes||Not required||New birth certificate|
|Tennessee||No||Not available||Not available|
|Texas||Yes||Required||New birth certificate|
|Utah||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Vermont||Yes||Not required||New birth certificate|
|Virginia||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Washington||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|West Virginia||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Wisconsin||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Wyoming||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
Changing your documents as part of a sex-change transition is often an important and highly symbolic step. It validates and recognizes your new identity and allows you to truly live your life in your new gender. Don’t forget, getting your birth certificate doesn’t mean a long process of queuing up in your local government office.