The trans, GNC, and non-binary community continues to face harassment and bigotry when they present as their authentic selves. These situations can be made worse when one’s identification doesn’t match gender expression and identity.
Unfortunately, we are “legally sexed” in a multitude of ways throughout our day-to-day lives. Misidentification can take an enormous psychological, emotional, and even physical toll. North Carolina has processes in place for persons to change their name and gender identity markers. While many of these changes can be made without an attorney, the processes vary based on
- What documents a person wants to change
- Where they were born
- If they have any disqualifiers
Because the process can be complex, we encourage persons who want to change their name or gender marker to contact us for a free consult and/or representation. Amily (she/her/hers) is a queer attorney and is committed to assisting you through this process.
Name Changes in North Carolina
The Name Change process in North Carolina can be overwhelming at times. However, we are here to help you through it. Whether you want a free consult and a “Do-it-Yourself” Packet or for Amily to represent you, we encourage you to contact us.
As an overview, here is list of the documents you will need for obtaining a name change in North Carolina:
- SBI and FBI criminal record check report (after getting your fingerprints)
- Notice of Petition for Name Change (File Stamped and Publicly Posted with 10 days notice)
- Verified Petition for Name Change
- Two (2) Affidavits of Character
- Affidavit Regarding Outstanding Tax/Child Support Obligations
- Certified Copy of Birth Certificate
- Proof of Identification
- Proof of Residency
- Filing fee ($120) cash or certified check or Petition to file as an Indigent to have the fee waived
Once you have all of your documents and have met the various time deadlines, you can file the petition with the clerk of court in the county you reside in. The clerk will then review your petition and all of the accompanying documents and either approve or deny your petition.
If your name change is granted, you will be given a Court Order granting your name change. You will want to make many copies of this order. You can use this order to then change your name on necessary identification documents such as your North Carolina driver license, passport, social security card and birth certificate.
There may be unexpected barriers to the name change process. For instance, North Carolina limits the number of times that a person may change their name. If you have already changed your name once, you should contact an attorney for advice or representation before filing for another name change. I have represented individuals seeking a second name change and successfully advocated for them in the courts.
Changing Gender Markers in North Carolina
In North Carolina, while a court order granting a change of sex/gender will allow you to change the gender marker on your North Carolina driver’s license, you do not need to have a court order to change it. North Carolina DMV has created a “Sex Designation Form” which someone can complete in order to request an amended driver’s license with the correct gender identity marker.
Currently, North Carolina requires persons to choose between “female” and “male.” The form is signed by both the applicant and any number of health professionals who also have to certify the applicant’s gender identity. You do not need proof of any gender-affirming surgery or medical procedures to change the gender marker on the driver’s license.
In order to change the gender marker on your birth certificate, you have to petition the county/state where you were born. The laws of the state where you were born apply and will determine how difficult it is to change your birth certificate gender marker.
If you were born in North Carolina, it is unfortunately much more difficult to change your gender marker on a birth certificate. To change the gender marker on your North Carolina birth certificate, you must provide a form signed by a surgeon stating that you have had gender reassignment surgery. The letter can also come from another licensed physician that can verify that you had the surgery.
If you have not undergone gender reassignment surgery yet, you will not be able to change the marker on your North Carolina birth certificate. If you were born in another state, please contact us and we can help assist you in determining the requirements of that state.
Navigating the System
As you can see, there are a lot of different rules for changing your name and gender markers in North Carolina. It can be difficult to navigate the legal system to get the documentation that you need, and in the correct timeframes, to make the changes happen. You must be able to work with the courts, your doctors, vital statistics, and the DMV to make your changes legally.
It is never a good idea to face the court system alone. Allow us to represent you in your name and gender marker change. We will offer you the support you need to live your life as authentically as possible, with the gender identity and name that reflects who you are. As a member of the queer community, I value my trans, GNC, non-binary, and queer peers and want to ensure that this process is as easy and validating as possible. Contact me today to learn more or to schedule your consultation.