How can members of the L.G.B.T.Q. + community legally change their gender marker in Texas?
Does Texas even have guidelines for gender marker changes?
What if you want to legally change your name?
I'm Lawyer Alexandria Serra, this is Lawyer Talk Thursday (catch it every week on Instagram @alexandriaserra), and you're about to find out.
Individuals are able to change their name, their gender marker, or have both (their name and gender marker changed) done at the same time. I promise it’s easy.
For those of you who aren’t sure what a gender marker is - it’s your gender identity on your legal documents like birth certificate and driver's license.
Let’s start with how you can go about changing your legal name:
There are different reasons why someone would want to change their name including protection from a violent past or simply because their name does not reflect who they are on the inside. To legally change your name, submit a petition to the court that includes a notarized form and fingerprints. You don’t have to tell the court why you want a name change. Minors would need consent from parents or legal guardians to undergo this process. There are filing fees, but if you have a financial hardship, the judge may waive the filing fee.
How can you change your gender marker?
If you’re wanting to legally change your gender marker there are a few other things that need to be done. You may know someone who is transgender and is experiencing gender dysmorphia so moving forward with legally changing their gender marker can bring them peace. Changing vital records, like your gender marker on your birth certificate, can be done through an amendment form (https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/vs/reqproc/amendment.shtm) once you have a court order.
What’s the difference?
One of the biggest differences between changing your name and changing your gender marker is that with changing your gender marker, you would have to provide the court proof that changing your gender is in your best interest - usually, a letter from your doctor that you are undergoing hormone therapy is good enough, or other transition treatment, but other proof can be used too. As an added bonus, you can submit an Acquaintance Letter from friends who understand your current gender to show the court how necessary this change is for you.
Do you know of any resources that can help support the LGBTQ+ community?
I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.