Dear Transgender Students: Steps to take towards changing your name and gender marker

Dear Transgender students,

As of Jan. 2017, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are in charge. This puts not only us but the entire LGBTQ community in a scary position. With what to come unknown, there is a consensus in the community to now change your gender marker and legal name as soon as you can. Here is how in the state of Oregon you can start these complicated processes.

Name change:

To change your name in the state of Oregon you have to fill out and submit a petition to the court (all forms combined cost $1.25), and you also must provide public notice before the hearing and after the final judgement. If you are not comfortable with the public requirements and fear for your safety you may request the records to be sealed for confidentiality and for your personal safety. The court fees for this is $111.00 and to receive a certified legal copy of your name change there is another fee of $5.00.

Once your name change has been completed and is now legal, you need to update your current form of ID (drivers licence, permit, or standard ID)  within 30 days. There is a DMV fee of $60.00 for a Class C driver’s license. You must fill out and submit the Social Security Name Change Form (SS-5 form); this form is free and can be found online and printed out. You will need at least two different forms of ID, that could range from your driver’s license to your birth certificate.

Gender marker change:

Changing your gender marker after you’ve changed your legal name is the most efficient way to do this.

For a DMV gender change after you’ve taken the steps above you’ll now need a letter from a licensed therapist who is WPATH trained. This could be the same therapist who wrote you your referral for gender reassignment surgery or helped you find a facility for hormone therapy. The therapist must be on the “DMV Approved list,” meaning they work under the HBSOC rubric; if you just ask them they can tell you. If they are not they will refer you to someone that is. You’ll then need to bring the following documents:

  1. Copy of name change certificate
  2. Letter from therapist
  3. Copy of birth certificate or passport
  4. Social Security Card

Social Security gender change:

You will again need proof of identity;  two from the list above will be just fine. A letter from the surgeon or attending physician verifying sex change surgery has been completed. (The SSA is not specific as to which surgeries will be accepted.) The letter must clearly identify you as the person changing his or her gender marker.

Obtaining a court-ordered gender change in Oregon; changing name and gender on an Oregon and Washington state birth certificate:

You need to now change your birth certificate because it’s required when getting a marriage license or for privacy issues. Send a copy of the name change/gender change court order (letter from surgeon will not work you must have a court order) along with $50. This can be sent to: Oregon Vital Records, PO Box 14050, Portland, OR 97293-0050. Telephone Contact is: 971-673-1137 and the Department Manager is: 971-673-1178

If at this time you do not have a copy of your birth certificate, write or visit the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state you were born in. For a complete listing by state, go to the National Center for Vital Statistics website. Approval of the request depends upon doctor, Judge, how the letter is written, and clerk.

I know it’s a lot to go through just to feel correctly represented. We have to jump through all these hurdles just to have the right pronouns on a driver’s license but we all know the importance of doing this. We shouldn’t have to fear getting pulled over because of the looks we get when the officer sees our legal gender than the speed we were going. We should feel confident going in the bathroom, not scared. We need to feel safe and free not scared and trapped.

Sincerely, Kendall LaVaque

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