Eventually, your next step for legal transition will be to change your gender marker. Now, this part is significantly more difficult and varies wildly from state to state. Some states are relatively simple, while others are a right pain in the butt. For example, I am very privileged to have done all this in Minnesota, which has one of the more trans-friendly laws regarding gender change. For me, I had to consult with a physician about my gender identity and present a document from her verifying that she believes my gender identity to be valid (though ironically, the Judge presiding over my case didn’t even ask for it! Don’t gamble on that though :P), alongside dotting my I’s and crossing my t’s of course. I got it changed on my social security card, my birth certificate, and my photo ID.
Unfortunately, not every gender change is going to be that simple. A lot of states require that you undergo sexual reassignment surgery before you are allowed to change your name, which is both cost-prohibitive for many, but also not something that every trans person wishes to undergo. Some states will also require that your gender change is noted on your birth certificate (mine did not, thankfully). Of course, knowing how the United States can often treat trans people, it should not be surprising at all to find out that a few states are not interested in trans rights beyond seeing the advance of these rights as a threat.
In Kansas, Ohio, and Tennessee, a person cannot change the gender on their birth certificate to match their gender. In all three, however, a person may still change the gender on their driver’s license just by having a notice from their physician verifying their gender identity. Kansas has laws that prevent changes to a birth certificate other than minor changes, and Tennessee is the only state to specifically bar trans people from changing their gender marker.
It’s not all bad though, because at least driver’s license gender change laws are significantly less stringent. Unfortunately, you will still have to deal with some rigmarole depending on your state. Luckily, states generally do not require SRS in order to get the gender marker changed on your driver’s license, meaning that you will still be able to present as your gender in public if you can’t change it on your birth certificate. The conflict with states not allowing birth certificate changes can present complications, however; for instance, if you were born in Ohio and moved to Kentucky, Kentucky law requires that your driver’s license’s marker match your birth certificate’s.
While we are admittedly in a bit of a sour spot in history for trans people with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency and setbacks on trans rights, trans people have seen many legal victories in recent years. For example, before April of this year, Idaho was alongside Kansas, Ohio, and Tennessee in denying trans people the right to change their gender marker on their birth certificate. However, a subsequent lawsuit and decision by an Idaho District Court Judge resulted in Idaho law being changed to the effect that trans people’s request to change their gender marker is not automatically denied anymore. Not only that, but SRS is not required, and neither is a notation of the gender having been changed. There are lawsuits against other such laws, including Ohio, so we may well see laws relaxed.
Because of the complexity of laws regarding changing your gender, such an article cannot and should not be used as your sole source of information. In order to get a proper understanding of your state’s laws, check out here… Changing Birth Certificate Sex Designations: State-By-State Guidelines
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