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 be changed on a Birth Certificate?
The majority of the 50 states allow you to change your birth certificate gender if you are transitioning.
Depending on the state you were born in, you will either:
- Be issued a new birth certificate in your preferred gender, or
- Your current birth certificate will be amended with the correct sex designation to reflect your change of gender
Some flexibility is already granted to gender-neutral individuals in specific states. Some states recognize intersex individuals with a third gender X option as is the case for:
However, this 3rd gender option does not apply in the case of trans individuals. Therefore, updating gender markers on their state-issued documents is the way to reflect a change of sex.
At present the following US states will not change a person’s gender on a birth certificate at all:
- Idaho - House of Representatives passed a bill to refuse gender marker changes on birth certificates
In states where sex designation modifications on birth certificates are possible, the process for making these changes to official documents differs depending on which state you were born in.
Changing the gender marker on a birth certificate 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, in others, the decision to consider you eligible for a change of gender on your birth certificate is based on other criteria.
After SRS Only
In around half of the US States, you will need evidence of SRS before your birth certificate can be changed into your preferred gender.
In these states, you will usually be required to present a court order showing proof of your new sex designation _after _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.
When it comes to making a change to your vital records and identification documents, eligibility rules vary state-by-state.
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 Sex Designation
If you are unsure what you need to do to adjust your birth certificate gender markers based on the state your birth was recorded in, read our quick guide to make things as straightforward as possible.
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 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 Per State
The following table details which states allow you to change your gender marker on a US birth certificate, and, if so, whether you are required to present documents such as a court order or medical certificate in order to be granted the change.
In any case, you will need to order a certified copy of your birth certificate to present alongside your birth certificate amendment form to request any modifications.
If you are looking to reflect a change of gender on your birth certificate, make sure you follow the correct rules for the state in which your was first registered:
Last updated: June 1st, 2020
|Transgender birth certificates laws|
|State||Allowed||Additional documents||Type of certificate|
|Alabama||Yes||Required||New birth certificate|
|Alaska||Yes||Not required||Amended birth certificate|
|Arizona||Yes||Not Required||Amended birth certificate|
|Arkansas||Yes||Required||Amended birth certificate|
|California||Yes||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|
Required Documents for Gender Change on a 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.
The required document common to all states that allow sex designation changes on a birth certificate is a certified copy of the birth certificate to be amended. Some states require applicants to present other documents alongside your current birth certificate, these are detailed on the National Center for Transgender Equality website —choose your birth state from the dropdown menu.
Once you have changed your sex designation on your birth certificate, you will need to obtain a certified copy of your new birth certificate. Make sure to order a long-form birth certificate so that it reflects the changes to your name and updated gender.
An official (long-form) copy of a birth certificate bears legal validity so it will be accepted when you apply to update other forms of government-issued identification documents such as a driver’s license or passport.