Transgender Birth Certificates: Laws by State

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 often means a change of identity documents 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.

At the moment, just 2 US states will not change a person’s gender on a birth certificate at all. This is true of Ohio and Tennessee.

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 Per State

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 Surgery 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 No Not required Amended birth certificate
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.

Simply order your birth certificate online and receive it right to your door.