Transgender or non-binary people will soon have an easier way to request a legal gender change. This is thanks to a change signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 15, 2017. This change officially recognizes that many people do not identify with a binary understanding of gender. Starting September 1, 2018 you will be able to file a request to change your legal gender. The filing is as easy as requesting a name change. And starting in 2019, you will be able to submit a simple request to update your gender with the DMV or on your birth certificate.
For requests to change gender, courts will no longer require you to submit proof of treatment by a medical professional. You simply declare under penalty of perjury that your request is made to conform to your gender identity and that it is not being made for a fraudulent purpose. Like the name change filings, a filing to change your name is fairly simple. Many people file the paperwork on their own without the assistance of an attorney.
I handle these filings for people who don’t want to take time to go to the court. I can file the paperwork electronically and appear at the hearing to get the certified copies of the orders that you will need to provide to various government agencies.
When will these changes go into effect?
1. Starting September 1, 2018 simplified gender change filings will be available. This will include the option to change your legal gender to non-binary. The new forms should allow you to change your name in the same filing to save on court fees.
2. Starting January 1, 2019 you will be able to change your gender with the DMV including a change to non-binary. The DMV has not yet released the specifics of what they want someone to include with this request.
3. Starting January 1, 2019 you can file papers with the State Registrar requesting to change the gender on your birth certificate without a court order. A filing fee is required for this change (currently $11).
Can I request a Gender Change Now?
The new changes won’t be available until September 1, 2018. Around that time the courts will release the new forms that you can use to request your gender change. I will update this article once the new forms are released. I am not able to tell you how to fill out the forms unless you hire me to assist with the process.
Do I need to publish my request to change name in a newspaper?
If you are requesting to change your name to conform to your gender identity you do not have to publish the request. Filings to change name to conform with gender identity are exempt from the publication requirement. However, if a minor is filing to change their name or gender they need the permission of at least one parent. They also need to provide notice to the other parent of the request.