Name and Gender Markers on State and Federal IDs

Do AS SOON AS POSSIBLE with as many docs as possible.

This is a general reference: Another:

This is a FB group that is here to help trans people navigate the bureaucracy.

If you are in NYC, attorneys are organizing to help trans* people with their documentation needs. The intake form is here.

Are you an NYC lawyer who can help trans clients pro bono or very close to pro bono with documents & legal matters? Fill out the NY TransLawHelp Name and Gender Change Support form.

  • Name change rules change by state and city. Get in touch w lawyer through your gay center or through yr health center if possible. yr local aclu might also have referrals. Instructions for each state and federal IDs is available through TransEquality.
    • NYS Name change is among the easier states to do it in, no lawyer needed. You’ll need around $200 total and will have to go to city hall civil court during working hours in your borough/city twice with proof of birth. You’ll make one trip to fill out the initial paperwork, then you have to go do some work about it (let the gov’t know, file a public notice), then you return to civil court to be sworn in legally with your new name
    • DC Name change is another place where it’s relatively easy (the link is for a TransLaw list of instructions.) There is also a checklist for Maryland and Virginia. TransLaw will help pay for some of your expenses/show you how to get waivers if you qualify financially. 
    • FreeState Legal in Maryland can provides assistance with name changes, obtaining documentation, harassment cases, family law matters, discrimination cases. **also, the cost of obtaining a birth certificate in Maryland has dropped to $10 from $25, and there are agencies that will assist with that cost if it is prohibitive.
  • Passport gender marker changes are easier than ever and just require a note from your doctor saying you are undergoing “appropriate clinical treatment.” Doctors vary on what they will write this note for (surgery/hormones/social transition or w/e – find one you can work with, if you can). You do not need to have surgery to change the gender on your passport. A more detailed guide to the passport process can be found here: . This will not be so easy under a Trump/Pence administration. Do this ASAP. Obvious problems are that it costs money & isn’t available to non-citizens, but if you can afford it & are a citizen…
  • To change the name on your passport, you will need proof of legal name change. This can be accomplished without a court order using form DS-11 ( to update a name record with evidence of common use, including this affidavit:

Having a passport with the correct information on it makes getting any other documents (state IDs, etc.) much much much easier in the future. Prioritize this if you can.




    • Social Security records can be changed at no cost.
      • Gender marker update (Does not require a court order):
      • “SSA is a federal agency, and it is possible that the name and gender change rules could be affected by a new administration, though it is unclear if and how they would change.

        It is unlikely that the federal government will interfere with the ability of people to change their names with social security. This process has been around for a long time, and is available to many people for a range of reasons. To change your name on your social security record, in general, we would recommend a court order of name change, though there may be other ways to change your name with social security as well.

        It is unclear if the rules about changing gender on your social security record will change. Currently, you can change gender with ANY of the following (surgery is NOT required):

        – 10 year passport with the correct gender
        – State-issued birth certificate with the correct gender
        – Court order directing recognition of the correct gender
        – Signed statement from a licensed physician that you have had “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition”

        If you go in to the SSA office, SSA can change your gender on the spot if you have the correct documentation.

        Transgender Law Center has a detailed guide to changing your name and gender on your ID, called ID Please. The detailed information about how to change name and/or gender with social security is on page 23.” – from National Center for Lesbian Rights

  • Many documents can serve as id for SSA new record:


  • State IDs
    • “Court ordered name and/or gender changes are done generally in state courts. The rules are set by state law.

      If you have already been thinking about getting a court ordered name or gender change, this may be a good time to do that, but we do NOT anticipate that these state processes will be directly affected by the new president.

      However, there are a few federally-issued documents that you may want to consider changing now.

      Changing your gender on your U.S. passport, immigration documents, and on your social security record are possible without having a court order of gender change.” – NCLR


For CA State ($23 fee)

If you have changed your name recently, make sure you:

  1. Update all your civic records if applicable, including applying for a new passport, new SSN card, new voter registration.
  2. Update all your bills (phone, utilities, credit cards, bank/brokerage accounts)
  3. Keep a copy of your old name ID and your certificate of name change. Hell, keep an extra copy at a friends’ house in case of fire.


For trans people under the age of 18:

“In general, transgender people under 18 will need their parents or guardians permission to change their name and/or gender on state and/or federal ID.

The medical certification requirements to change gender on a U.S. passport are the same. A parent or guardian must go to the passport office in person to make the change. If a minor is under 16 and has two parents, both of them must consent to the change.

The gender change requirements for a social security record are the same as well. Parental or guardian approval is required. Only one parent needs to fill out the application, but if a person’s other parent may object to the change, we recommend speaking with an attorney before applying.

It is unlikely that the state-level rules about name and gender changes (e.g., court orders, drivers licenses, state ID, birth certificates) will be directly affected by the new president.

If you are under 18, or if you are applying for a name and/or gender change on behalf of your child who is under 18, and one or more parent(s) or guardian(s) objects to the name and/or gender change, you can contact NCLR for more information about your or your child’s legal rights.” – NCLR

Planning for a Trump Administration When You're Not A Straight Rich White Dude