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TransActive Gender Center provides a holistic range of services and expertise to empower transgender and gender diverse children, youth and their families in living healthy lives, free of discrimination.

Amending Identity Documents for Children and Youth

If you encounter harassment/opposition in the process of following these guidelines, or would like more information, please contact TransActive Gender Center.

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Legal Name/Gender Change

Step 1 — Get Legal Name/Gender Change Forms
Most counties make these available on the Internet. Google “legal name change [YOUR COUNTY]” to see if they are available to download. If not, you’ll need to go to the courthouse for the forms.

Name changes are (usually) processed under the jurisdiction of the county/parish Circuit Court.

Fees for name/gender change vary by county. They should include the name/gender change forms, the filing fee, and a certified copy of your decree signed by the judge.

Step 2 — Bring Completed Forms & Valid State ID to the Courthouse
You will file the paperwork with a clerk and (if necessary) post notice of the requested changes in a designated location. (The clerk can help you)

  • In some states (Oregon is one example), you can file for a change of name AND gender at the same time, for a single fee. You will need to obtain and bring a letter from a physician stating that you have undergone “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.”

Proof of surgery is no longer required in some states (including Oregon). (See Letter from Physician)

Step 3 — Schedule a Court Date
Attend the hearing with your completed paperwork and physician letter.

Step 4 — Getting on with Your Life
Once you receive the court decree in the mail, you can amend existing identity documents: Birth Certificate, School, Medical, DMV, Bank, Social Security, Military, etc.

Social Security

Social Security cards do not list a person’s gender, however the Social Security Administration (SSA) does maintain an internal record of your gender.

Step 1 — Gather Proof of Legal Identity:

  • U.S. driver's license (current, not expired);
  • State-issued non-driver ID card; or
  • U.S. passport

If you don’t have these specific documents the SSA will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card);
  • U.S. military ID card

To change the gender marker, SSA will need:

  • Full-validity, 10-year U.S. passport showing the new gender; or
  • State-issued amended birth certificate showing the new gender; or
  • Court order directing legal recognition of change of gender; or
  • Medical certification of clinical treatment for gender transition in the form of an original letter from a licensed physician.

Step 2 — Proof of U.S. Citizenship
Birth certificate or U.S. passport

Step 3 — Complete SSA Card Application
Find it here

Step 4 — Submit Application
Take or mail the completed application and documents to your local Social Security office or Social Security Card Center. Documents must be originals or copies certified by the issuing agency.

Photocopies/notarized copies will not be accepted. SSA will return your documents, along with a receipt.

U.S. Passport

U.S. State Department policy requires a physician certification if the documents you submit with your application do not all reflect your true gender.

(See application process below for more details.)

Since many transgender children/youth do not have a drivers license, prior passport or birth certificate reflecting their true gender, TransActive Gender Center recommends the following process be followed for best effect.

Application Process
To obtain a new/renewed passport with the appropriate gender marker you need to apply in person.

Download, print and fill out form DS-11.

Take the completed DS-11, your court ordered name change decree, the physician letter and existing birth certificate (or other ID documents) to your local U.S. Passport processing center.

Locate a processing center near you.

“Appropriate Treatment” Requirement
The child/youth is entitled to a U.S. Passport reflecting their gender if they have had clinical treatment (determined by their health provider to be appropriate) to facilitate gender transition.


This policy applies to adults and minors. Passport applications for minors are subject to parental consent requirements. (These requirements apply to all minors, not just transgender minors.)

Letter from Physician

Who can write a physician letter?

A licensed physician with whom the transgender person has a doctor/patient relationship and who is familiar with their transition-related treatment. This includes any medical doctor, medical specialist and in some states, naturopathic physicians.

The U.S. Department of State provides the following model letter for physician certifications. Certifications must include the information in the sample letter below.

We strongly recommended your physician use this letter and not provide additional personal health information that is not included below:

[Attending Physician’s Official Letterhead]

I, [Physician’s Name], [physician’s medical license or certificate number], [issuing State of medical license/certificate], am the attending physician of [Patient Name], with whom I have a doctor/patient relationship.

[Patient Name] has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to the new gender [specify new gender male or female].

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the forgoing is true and correct.

[Physician Signature]
[Physician Name (Typed)]

DMV & Birth Certificatie

Requirements vary from state to state. For details on the requirements in your state, visit TransEquality.

Download a printer-friendly PDF version.