Gender Marker

Registering with Selective Service

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If you are MTF, you must register for the selective service when you turn 18, regardless of where you are in your transition. It is still unclear if you can actually serve in the military, but you must register anyway in order to be eligible for federal jobs, federal student loans, and other federal benefits. Colleges may also check if you have been registered. You can register here: https://www.sss.gov/RegVer/wfRegistration.aspx
If you are FTM, you do not need to register for the selective service. However, if you plan to apply for college and student loans or a federal job as a male, you may be asked to prove that you are exempt from registering. You can apply for a Status Information Letter showing you are exempt here: http://www.sss.gov/PDFs/SilForm_Instructions.pdf.

For more information regarding the selective service, see this publication from the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Changing Your Passport

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Name Changes

If you haven’t already, we recommend you change your gender on your passport at the same time you change your name. Click here for instructions on changing your gender marker on your passport.

If you are applying for a passport for the first time, regardless of your age, you must apply in person at any acceptance facility. Click here to find the facility nearest you. What documents will you need?

1) Completed Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport. Note that within this form, you must reveal any legal name change and attach the certified court order changing your name.
2) Evidence of U.S. citizenship (such as your birth certificate)
3) A valid ID and photocopy of that ID. Note that the photocopy must be on a standard 8 ½ x 11” paper, showing the front and back of the ID, and be free from any other images and/or markings. The photocopy must be on only one side of the paper, and you may not decrease the size of the image.
4) Two color passport photos (2” x 2”) reflecting your current appearance
5) Any applicable fees. . Click here to see a fee schedule.

All Minor applicants, including renewals, must also apply in person at a passport facility. Click here to find the facility nearest you. What documents will you need?

1) Evidence of U.S. Citizenship (such as your birth certificate)
2) Photo Identification
3) Parental Consent. Click here for more information.
4) Two color passport photos (2” x 2”) reflecting your current appearance
5) Application Forms. Click here for more information.
6) Any applicable fees. . Click here to see a fee schedule.

If you are 18 or older and you already have a passport, but your name has legally changed via a court ordered change of name, you will need to apply for a new passport. The process and cost depend on how long it has been since your passport was issued. Click here for more information.


Gender Changes

The Passport Agency does not require surgery relating to your gender transition in order to change your gender on your passport. To obtain a new passport with the standard 10-year validity, the Passport Agency only requires “medical certification of gender transition” from a licensed doctor who has treated you or reviewed and evaluated your medical history and with whom you have doctor/patient relationship. The Passport Agency offers no guidance as to what qualifies as “gender transition,” leaving this designation up to your doctor. In our experience, this certification is often based on hormone therapy alone, or hormone therapy in combination with other treatment or surgery.

If you are in transition but have not yet begun hormone therapy, or your doctor does not feel comfortable certifying your transition, the Passport Agency offers a 2-year limited-validity passport reflecting a new gender. Your doctor will need to certify that you are “in the process of gender transition.” After applying for this transitional passport, you can later request a full validity passport without an additional fee within the 2-year duration of the limited validity passport. You will, however, need the physician’s certification of gender transition stating that you have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.

You must apply for a gender marker change in person at any acceptance facility. Click here to find the facility nearest you. What documents will you need?

1) Proof of citizenship (such as your birth certificate)
2) Proof of identity, which must be in your new gender. Click here for instructions on how to change your gender marker on your Maryland-issued ID or driver’s license.
3) Two color passport photos (2” x 2”) reflecting your current appearance
4) Any applicable fees. . Click here to see a fee schedule.
5) Birth documentation reflecting your new gender (click here for instructions on how to change your gender marker on your Maryland-issued birth certificate) OR medical certification from your treating physician (click here for more information on what this certification must include and an example letter)

Note: If you are changing your gender marker on your passport without also changing your name, we strongly recommend that you specifically request a new passport, as the Passport Agency may simply apply a stamp over the old gender marker, which would make it apparent to anyone who saw your passport that your gender marker has changed.

Updating Your Social Security Information

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You will need to update your information with Social Security before you can update your ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license. We suggest you do this right away after getting your name changed by the court. You can do it in person or by mail.
You will need the following documents: (1) a completed Form SS-5, (2) certified copy of your name change decree from the court, (3) something that shows your identity (like a driver’s license or passport) – even if it still has your old name on it; (4) something that shows your citizenship (like birth certificate or a passport) – even if still has your old name on it.
The link to Social Security’s instructions about getting a new card is here (note that Social Security considers anyone over the age of 12 to be an “adult”):

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ss5doc/ss5doctext.htm#o-us-adult

The link to Form SS-5 is here:

http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf

 Changing your gender marker with Social Security
Your Social Security card doesn’t have your gender on it, but you should still change your gender with Social Security if you plan to change it other places. You do not need to have gotten a legal gender change to change your gender with Social Security. You can update your information in person or by mail.
You will need the following documents: (1) a completed Form SS-5, (2) a letter from a physician saying you are receiving clinical treatment (like hormones) OR a gender change decree from the court; (3) something that shows your identity (like a driver’s license or passport); (4) something that shows your citizenship (like birth certificate or a passport).
If your identity or citizenship documents do not have the same name (if you got your name legally changed, but did not update all of your documents) you might want to bring a copy of your name change decree as well.
Instructions for changing your gender with Social Security are here:

https://faq.ssa.gov/ics/support/KBAnswer.asp?questionID=2856&hitOffset=76+64+27+15+13+6+4&docID=3382

The link to Form SS-5 is here:

http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf

Changing your MVA ID, License, or Learner’s Permit

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Changing your name with MVA

MVA requires that you change your name on your ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license within 30 days of receiving your name change decree. However, you have to change your information with Social Security first. Requests should be made in person at an MVA office.

What documents will you need?

  1. your current ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license with your old name
  2. a certified copy of your name change decree from the court (Don’t have a name change decree? Click here)
  3. a completed  application for a new license, available at the MVA office
  4. if you are under 18, you will need to bring a parent with you to sign the application.

You will also be charged about $20-$25 for the new card.

If you are applying for an ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license for the first time, use the MVA’s document guide, available here, to determine what documents you will need to take with you.

You do not need a court order to change your gender marker on your ID/driver’s license/learner’s permit.  If you want to change your gender marker, you can do it at the same time you are changing your name. (See additional instructions below.)

Have more questions about changing your MVA ID? Visit the MVA website.

Changing your gender marker with MVA

You can change your gender on your ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license without getting an order from the court.

Gender marker changes are only done at the Glen Burnie MVA. You can either go in person or mail your request to: MD MVA , ATTN: Driver Wellness and Safety Division, 6601 Ritchie Highway, NE, Glen Burnie, MD 21062.

If you mail in your request, make sure to keep copies of everything you mail. Note that if you also want to change your name at the same time, you need to go in person.

You may be charged $20-$25 for a new license.

What documents will you need?

  1. your ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license
  2. a letter from you asking to have your gender marker changed
  3. letter(s) from a doctor or psychiatrist stating that you have received appropriate clinical treatment for transition and that your gender should be changed
  4. if you’re also changing your name, everything listed above in the name change section

Have more questions about changing your MVA ID? Visit the MVA website. You can also See PFLAG’s information about changing our gender marker.

Changing your Birth Certificate

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Changing your name on your Maryland birth certificate

The Maryland Division of Vital Statistics is in charge of changing birth certificates. Please note that Maryland Division of Vital Statistics will only change your name on your birth certificate if you have gotten a legal name change (an order from a court that says your gender has been changed.) Changing your name on your birth certificate can be done in person or by mail.

You will need the following documents:

  1. letter requesting your birth certificate to be updated
  2. something that identifies you (like a driver’s license or ID, or a copy of your old birth certificate)
  3. certified copy of your name change decree from the court (Don’t have name change decree? Click here)

The fee for a new birth certificate is $24.

Have more questions about changing your birth certificate? Visit the DHMH website.

Changing your gender marker on your Maryland birth certificate

Please note that Maryland Division of Vital Statistics will only change your gender marker on your birth certificate if you have gotten a legal gender change (an order from a court that says your gender has been changed.) Changing your gender on your birth certificate can be done in person or by mail.

You will need the following documents:

  1. letter requesting your birth certificate to be updated
  2. something that identifies you (like a driver’s license or ID, or a copy of your old birth certificate)
  3. certified copy of your gender change decree from the court (Don’t have a gender change decree? Click here)

The fee for a new birth certificate is $24.

Currently, the law only requires the Division of Vital Statistics to issue an “amended” birth certificate for gender marker changes. This means that they may attach a sheet to your current birth certificate that shows your new gender identity.

Have more questions about changing your birth certificate? Visit the DHMH website.

Changing Your Legal Gender with a Maryland Court

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is “legal” gender?
Who can get a legal gender change in Maryland?
Can I get a legal gender change if I am under 18?
Can I still change my gender marker on my driver’s license or my passport even if I do not get a legal gender change?
How do you get a “legal” gender change?
Do I need a lawyer to change my gender?
How much does a legal gender change cost?
I cannot afford the fees. What should I do?
Do I really have to go to court?
Where do I file my legal gender change request?
What can I expect at the clerk’s office?
Will the court contact me during the review process?
How long will it take for the court to grant the legal gender change?

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is “legal” gender?

When you were born, the gender assigned to you on your birth certificate is considered your “legal” gender for some purposes. It is likely that this gender marker continues to be used on official documents, such as Social Security, court records, and your state-issued ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license.

Who can get a legal gender change in Maryland?

Maryland residents or people with Maryland birth certificates can request a legal gender change. You do not need to be currently living in Maryland.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Maryland currently has a “surgical requirement.” This means that the legal gender change requests are only available to people who have had surgery related to their transition.

Can I get a legal gender change if I am under 18?

The law does not include any rules for minors (people under 18). It is likely that the process would be the same. However, because minors cannot submit court documents on their own, your parent would have to file the request for you. If you have another parent or legal guardian, he or she would have to give written consent.

Also, keep in mind that Maryland requires a person to have surgery before requesting a legal gender change.

Can I still change my gender marker on my driver’s license or my passport even if I do not get a legal gender change?

Yes! Some official documents, such as your State-issued driver’s license, state-issued ID, Social Security card, and passport can be changed without getting a court order. Click here to go to the section on how you can change your gender marker on these documents without surgery or a court order.

How do you get a “legal” gender change?

Maryland Circuit Courts will issue a “gender change decree,” or an official document stating that your legal gender has been changed. You can ask the court to change your gender by completing a petition (a written request) asking the court to change your gender. You will also need to submit a copy of your birth certificate and a letter from your physician stating that you have had surgery. If you are a minor (under 18) your parents will have to write the petition for you.

You then submit these documents to the Circuit Court in your county, along with a fee (or a fee waiver.)

The judge assigned to your petition will then mail you a notice of a hearing. You may be asked to come to the court and answer a few questions about your petition. After the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to grant your legal gender change.
Unfortunately, the law in Maryland is not very clear. There are no instructions or forms available from the courts on the “right” way to request a legal change of gender.

Do I need a lawyer to change my gender?

No. You can file the petition yourself. However, because the process can be confusing, you may feel more comfortable having a lawyer help you and go with you to court. For more information about getting a lawyer, contact FreeState Legal Project for additional assistance.

How much does a legal gender change cost?

It costs $155 to submit your petition to the court.

I cannot afford the fees. What should I do?

People who cannot afford the fees can ask the court for a “waiver,” which means you do not have to pay them. If you would like information about this, contact FreeState Legal Project.

Do I really have to go to court?

Sometimes a judge will agree to skip the hearing. Contact FreeState Legal Project for more information.

Where do I file my legal gender change request?

Legal gender change petitions should be filed (turned in) at the clerk’s office at the Circuit Court in the county where you live. A list of Circuit Courts can be found here.

You can file the petition by taking it to the court yourself, or you can mail it. If you are paying the court fees, you should pay them at the same time you turn in or mail your petition. Some courts have rules about what types of payment they will accept. We recommend you contact the Circuit Court in your county about how to make your payment

.

What can I expect at the clerk’s office?

You will file the gender change petition at the clerk’s office in the Circuit Court. If you are asking for directions within the courthouse, keep in mind that many people are not familiar with “legal gender change.” It might be easier to ask where to go to file a “legal name change.” Both of these types of petitions will be filed with the same person.

Bring two copies of all of your documents. You will give your payment and one copy of the petition to the clerk. Ask them to stamp the second copy and give it back to you for your records.

Some clerks may not have heard of “legal gender change.” However, clerks should treat all visitors with respect, regardless of what type of matter they are filing. If you feel that you were not treated with respect by a clerk when trying to file a name change, contact FreeState Legal Project.

If you are mailing the petition to the court, send your payment and two copies as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope. Include a note requesting that the clerk mail you a stamped copy. Make sure to tell them where to mail the copy .

Will the court contact me during the review process?

The court may send your additional documents BEFORE granting the gender change. For instance, if you request the court to waive court costs, the court will mail you a notice of its decision about that request.
Additionally, the judge may request that you come to court for a hearing. The court will send you a notice of the date and time of this hearing by mail. If you do not appear for the hearing, your petition will be dismissed (not granted.)

If you receive a document from the court that you do not understand, contact FreeState Legal Project.

How long will it take for the court to grant the legal gender change?

It will likely take several months from beginning to end. It depends on the caseload in your jurisdiction.

What will I need to do once my legal gender change is granted?

When the court approves your gender change request, you will receive several certified copies of your gender change decree. You can use this to change your birth certificate.

If you have not already changed your gender marker on your Social Security card, MVA driver’s license, license or ID card, or passport. (Note that you do not need to wait for you legal gender change decree to be granted in order to change these documents.)