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Identity Document Laws and Policies

Driver’s license policies govern the process by which a state changes a gender marker on a person’s driver’s license. Many transgender people choose to revise the gender marker on their identity documents so that it matches the gender they live every day.

United States Map
State accepts documentation from a broad range of licensed professionals in order to change gender marker. Does not require sex reassignment surgery (15 states + D.C.)
State requires documentation from by a limited range of licensed professionals in order to change gender marker. Does not require sex reassignment surgery (0 states)
State requires burdensome proof of clinical treatment and/or other updated identity document in order to change gender marker. Does not require sex reassignment surgery (19 states)
State has unclear, unknown or unwritten policy regarding gender marker changes (4 states)
State requires proof of sex reassignment surgery, court order, and/or amended birth certificate in order to change gender marker (12 states)
NOTE: The processes by which an individual can change the gender marker on their driver's license and/or birth certificate to accurately reflect their gender identity are governed by state laws and administrative polices and often include intrusive and outdated requirements, such as proof of sex reassignment surgery and court orders. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, burdensome requirements and prohibitive costs prevent the majority of transgender individuals from obtaining accurate identity documents.

For more information, please see the National Center for Transgender Equality's Identity Documents Center.

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

21% of LGBT population lives in states that accept documentation from a broad range of licensed professionals in order to change gender marker. Do not require sex reassignment surgery 46% of LGBT population lives in states that require documentation from by a limited range of licensed professionals in order to change gender marker. Do not require sex reassignment surgery 55% of LGBT population lives in states that require burdensome proof of clinical treatment and/or other updated identity document in order to change gender marker. Do not require sex reassignment surgery 2% of LGBT population lives in states that have unclear, unknown or unwritten policy regarding gender marker changes 22% of LGBT population lives in states that require proof of sex reassignment surgery, court order, and/or amended birth certificate in order to change gender marker

Birth certificate laws govern the process by which a state changes a gender marker on a person’s birth certificate. Many transgender people choose to revise the gender marker on their identity documents so that it matches the gender they live every day.

United States Map
State issues new birth certificate and does not require sex reassignment surgery nor court order in order to change gender marker (12 states + D.C.)
State is unclear regarding surgical/clinical requirements and/or may require a court order to change gender marker (10 states)
State has unclear, unknown or unwritten policy regarding gender marker changes (3 states)
State requires proof of sex reassignment surgery in order to change gender marker (21 states)
State does not allow for amending the gender marker on the birth certificate (4 states)
NOTE: The processes by which an individual can change the gender marker on their driver's license and/or birth certificate to accurately reflect their gender identity are governed by state laws and administrative polices and often include intrusive and outdated requirements, such as proof of sex reassignment surgery and court orders. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, burdensome requirements and prohibitive costs prevent the majority of transgender individuals from obtaining accurate identity documents.

For more information, please see the National Center for Transgender Equality's Identity Documents Center.

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

38% of LGBT population lives in states that issue new birth certificate and do not require sex reassignment surgery nor court order in order to change gender marker
7% of LGBT population lives in states that are unclear regarding surgical/clinical requirements and/or may require a court order to change gender marker 10% of LGBT population lives in states have unclear, unknown or unwritten policy regarding gender marker changes 39% of LGBT population lives in states require proof of sex reassignment surgery in order to change gender marker 6% of LGBT population lives in states that do not allow for amending the gender marker on the birth certificate

Many transgender people choose to change their legal name to match the name and gender they live every day. Name Change Policies control the process by which an individual can change their legal name on identity documents.

United States Map
State law permits name change without requiring public announcement of name change (13 states + D.C.)
Requirement of public name change announcement is unclear, circumstantial, or under individual court’s discretion (27 states)
State law requires public announcement of name change (10 states)
State law includes additional restrictions and/or requirements for individuals with a criminal record (19 states)
NOTE: While state laws generally allow individuals to change their name for any non-criminal purpose, many states maintain outdated and burdensome requirements that create substantial barriers to achieving a legal name change. One of the most common and most problematic legal name change requirements throughout state laws is a requirement that a person publicize his or her name change. Many states require that applicants must publish notice at the local courthouse or in the newspaper sharing that they filed a petition requesting a legal name change. Another significant barrier exists in the many states that have additional rules and regulations when the person requesting a name change has a criminal record.

For more information, please see the National Center for Transgender Equality's Identity Documents Center.

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

43% of LGBT population lives in states that do not require public announcement of name change
47% of LGBT population lives in states with unclear or circumstantial requirements for public announcement of a name change 10% of LGBT population lives in states that require public announcement of name change 58% of LGBT population lives in states with additional restrictions and/or requirements for individuals with a criminal record

Positive Law

Negative Law


State Driver's License Birth Certificate Name Change
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


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Data current as of 04/21/2017