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Thread: Name and gender marker changeS

  1. #1
    Aspiring Member
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    Name and gender marker changes

    Hi folks,

    Looking for words of advice and wisdom from those who changed name and/or gender marker.

    I am considering changing my legal First name to it's gender neutral version, which is a small change by itself but an important one for me from emotional point view (it's not Katya, even though I like Katya but outside of the forum, no one knows about this name). I really started to dislike being called by my male First name. My current work email is already set to my new First name and people call me that way, so thankfully, I don't hear it very frequently. But I see it all the time on all official documents from banks, to insurance, etc. So making official change was on my mind for a while, and if it was the only change, no one would even know.
    I am also transitioning to a new role in my company that will come with considerable amount of travel on the north East us and Eastern Canada, but other states in the US as well (when we get to normal). I am also presenting more and more feminine and use women's bathrooms when away, and go through TSA as everyone else. I was already considering to get TSA-Pre to avoid body scanners but due to expected increase in travel, I thought that it maybe I should change the gender marker too to get the piece of mind. Not all states have legal protection like my home state NY. I don't even know if there are still states where it is illegal to use bathrooms of "opposite" gender. If I was to go through the hassle (time and money) of changing the name on all the documents, it doesn't cost any extra to change the gender marker at the same time, the way I understand it. But should I decide to change the gender marker later, I will have to repeat the process. I have a lot of documents to change like passport, naturalization certificate, driver's license to mention a few big ones.

    Do you agree with my logic? I identify as non-binary but this is not an option for NY State drivers license or US Passport so I will be changing it to Female, which is more appropriate for me than Male considering how I like to present and feel about myself (we still live in a Binary world).

    P.S. From limited research I've done, I think I understand the process and can do it and can afford it. However, I have also an option to work with LGBT attorney who specializes in this. He offers a sliding scale but in my situation, it will be fair to pay full cost of $1000. Not sure if it is worth or not. $1000 is still a good chunk of money that I can use towards various fees for passport, and naturalization certificate (the last one cost $555 alone, ouch!).

    Thanks,
    Katya
    Last edited by Katya@; 06-24-2020 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Rephrased my questions.

  2. #2
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    Since every State has different rules and regulations, I can only offer my opinion based on my experience here in California. I did everything myself. I went on line to search which courts I needed to satisfy (County District Court of Family Law in the County Seat not too far from where I live. I went on line and downloaded the forms and read a lot all over the place. I also read some info from the transgenderlawcenter.com, where they had some useful guidelines. I did both, name and gender, at the same time. I filled out the forms checked them many times and then went to the court house with them and any other documents that they required, found the "door" where they would take my documents and waited my turn. The lady called my name had me sign a place that I missed and sent me out to wait some more. She called my back, gave me copies of the stamped documents and had me take them downstairs to the County Clerk's office to have them recorded and pay my fees, $453. I was told to come back X weeks later and come back to their door. I came back waited in line, got my turn and they retrieved my documents to take into the Judge for signature. They called me back and gave me the signed (stamped) documents and sent me down to the Clerk's office to record the Court Order. Their I paid $35 for the registration and then $25 per certified copies.
    I got 3 copies because you always want one for your personal file and then may have to send out others to change your date at other places, like financial institutions, etc. They usually send back those certified copies after they make their changes.

    The same day that I did all that I went directly to my local Social Security Office and changed my Social Security card. So, for you, unless New York is much more complicated, I recommend that you do both name and gender at the same time, and that you do it all by yourself. See Lana Mae's "Name Change" thread for my list of things/places that needed my name changed on their records.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Allie

  3. #3
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    Hi Allie,

    Thank you for the feedback. I can also add that I do not have any circumstances that could in some cases complicate the name change, like having debt issue, or criminal records, etc.

    Also, during his presentation, the attorney mentioned transequality.org/documents resource which shows the requirements by state (province) with relevant links.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Jeri Ann's Avatar
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    Allie is correct. Each state is different. Some people here in Texas are being successful doing it themselves but there are only a couple of judges in the entire state that will do it. Look for a Facebook group.

    For a US passport you cannot just change the gender marker. You will have to apply for a new passport and pay all of the fees again. A court order will be needed too.

    Having TSA precheck is no guarantee that you will not have hassles at security. If there is an alert, TSA gets closed. If someone calls in sick and they are shorthanded, TSA gets closed. It does come in handy most of the time and is a bargain at $85 for five years. For me it breaks down to a couple of bucks per trip.

    Do not worry about scanners. They are not checking for genitals, just things that shouldn?t go on a plane. Before I had any surgeries I was selected for a random search. I did not have precheck then. A female agent took me behind a screen, patted me down and wished me a good trip.

    If you look female go to the women?s restroom. There will never be someone checking credentials at the door. Legal protections are not needed.

    I used to fly a lot before the pandemic. At every airport I have ever been to people are in a hurry. Coming and going they are rushing and not aware of people around them. Even on a plane most people will not even look at you. It?s crazy. I like to engage with people on the plane. Most of the time they will. I miss flying.

  5. #5
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    Hi Jeri,

    Thank you for the feedback.

    So if you are somewhere in the redneck country, in state with no LGBT protections, let's say some gas station, are there places where it's actually illegal to go to bathroom of the gender that is not yours legally? I must say I live in a bubble - a liberal city in a liberal state, so I didn't want to assume this is the case nationwide.

    About TSA - last time I flew (no TSA-Pre), I went through a body scanner and it lit up (the female officer selected pink button for female). She told me she needs to pat me down and as soon as I said OK in a low voice, she is like - oh...I then need to call my male colleague, but then she said to go through the scanner again and they selected male. Not a huge deal, but I felt that I had no legal recourse to ask not be pat down by male officer. I didn't mind female.

  6. #6
    Gold Member Lana Mae's Avatar
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    In NC, you can use the lady's! Our bathroom bill was shot down and you can use the restroom of your choice! Hugs Lana Mae
    Life is worth living!
    "Foxy lady! You look so good!!" Jimi Hendrix

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Jeri Ann's Avatar
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    There is no restroom law in Texas either. It did not pass. Gas stations in Texas do not have Potty Police. However, if you look like a guy it would not be a good idea to go into a women?s restroom.

    I have always found TSA to be courteous and efficient. Requesting in a obvious male voice that a female search you will probably draw even more attention to you than you want. Just let them do their job and go to your gate. Get the precheck. It will help most of the time. The biggest advantage is not having to take off your shoes unless they have metal in them.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Katya,
    I still haven't made an official name change but now use Terri instead of Terry . Teresa is used more on this forum and in my TG social groups . I asked my GP surgery for the change so I now have Ms as a gender marker , this also applies to my dental surgery , the blood donation centre , all my retail outlets and of course my art group , I could go on but the important point is I no longer think about the change no matter how small . So if and when I do do it officially it won't be a totally alien experience , I wonder if you consider it the same way and gradually become accustomed to it , that is of course if it doesn't make travelling very difficult . As you know I recently posted a thread considering travelling as a trans woman next year , so it will be a learning curve for me as well .

    What you personally identify as is only a problem to you, officially they don't care as long as it's legal , all I will say is being NB does raise these problems at times .
    The real me ,no going back.

  9. #9
    Little Mrs. Snarky! Nadine Spirit's Avatar
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    Hiya - I think you are on the right track and should change your name and gender together.

    My experience is from my state, California. I did it back when you had to see a judge and I think I paid something around $650 when it was all said and done. That was for court fees and multiple official copies of the court decree.

    One thing I wanted to mention, that I was not aware of...... here in Cali if you change your name or gender only, you will not get a new birth certificate, you will get an addendum to your original. Even if later you change the other one. For a trans person likes me, that would have meant that my original "male" birth certificate would be on top and the addendum would be stapled on and be the 2nd page. Which would mean I would be outing myself every time I showed it to anybody. Duhr, what's the point of changing the BC then? Yeah, I know there are other reasons, like passport, but still, that is a weird lame loophole that I did not learn about until after I completed everything.

  10. #10
    Silver Member Devi SM's Avatar
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    I already submit all the required paperwork to the superior court of California following the instructions from the clerk and how to do it myself but today reading this thread I trud to findwent the mentioned web, transexualism.com that is the first on the list of google, but then I found a link to the superior court about "How Change Your Name AND Gender (Adult) (I attached screenshot). If you read the first line says "you don't need a court ordered..." "just go to the registrar " then later says if you were born in other state you will need a court order....
    The registrar is closed too....

    The courts still closed for non essential process so my paperwork is sleeping as well DMV is not open.

    Anybody had done it without a court order?

    I forgot to share the link of the california courts website

    https://www.courts.ca.gov/25797.htm?rdeLocaleAttr=en

    Update of the above info:
    I found out in the website of registrar office of California that for sex correction on birth records is very easy just to submit the form VS24.pdf https://www.cdph.ca.gov/CDPH%20Docum...Forms/VS24.pdf

    An affidavit to correct information
    But for name change a court order is needed....

    Devi
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for your replies.

    Teresa - the name change will be indeed something that no one other than me will notice because everyone already addresses me that way. But I want to have it on all my documents and credit cards, etc.

    Nadine - good tip about not changing gender separately. Not relevant to me because I was born outside of the US and my birth certificate will stay as is forever but I am sure it will be helpful to others who will read it.

    I definitely want to avoid burden and expense amending documents twice if I do decide one day to change gender too. I don't want to wait forever for X option to be available on federally issued docs either and would rather have female, for consistency.

    Katya

  12. #12
    Aspiring Member Acastina's Avatar
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    Hi Allie--Yes, California greatly streamlined the process in 2018, eliminating the requirement to publish the Petition for Change of Name, no longer requiring a court appearance unless someone comes out of the woodwork with an objection that the judge wants to hear, having a simple check box for change of gender marker, and eliminating any kind of professional certification for subsequently getting a replacement birth certificate. DMV and vital statistics will then routinely issue new driver license and birth certificate, respectively, and such contacts as IRS, Social Security, passports and the like follow from that. It's also ok to get a license with a non-binary gender marker.

    It's a clean break from older rules that, for example, required a doctor's certification that one's anatomical configuration justifies an official gender change.

    I'm finally going to pull the trigger this summer, as my DL renewal is in September and I want to take care of the Real ID thing. Nothing in the statutes precludes the venerable California common-law right of name change, but Real ID won't honor it, and getting the other agencies to change the gender marker can be a struggle.

    So, in order:

    1. Name change petition checking gender marker box.

    2. Take change order to vital stats for birth certificate.

    3. Show order and certificate to DMV for Real ID license.

    4. Notify SS, passport, creditors, banks, IRS, until old name disappears from correspondence.

    Total in California, depending on county filing fees, somewhere between $500-600.

    [SIZE=1]- - - Updated - - -[/SIZE]

    Nadine, the 2018 legislation closed the loophole you're talking about. There's a check box on the name change petition for a gender-conforming name change, and the effect is that the name order is also a gender order that vital statistics is obligated to recognize. You might be able to re-open your name change case for a more comprehensive order under the new law. I would query the court clerk's office. It shouldn't require a new first-paper filing fee.

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