Courtesy of Trans Spectrum of Arizona, June 2017 Issue.
Legally changing your name and/or gender marker can be one of the most affirming steps for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. While each individual has a very different journey and experience, Echo Magazine recognizes that there are specific challenges involved with navigating the legalities of this step.
As a resource to those our readers who may find this information valuable, we’ve included Trans Spectrum of Arizona’s “Name and/or Gender Marker Legal Change” excerpt from its Resource Guide here:
Legal Name Change in Maricopa County
You don’t need a lawyer to change your name in Maricopa County. All the forms and instructions are available for download through the Self-Serve Center. You can download the entire packet or each piece individually. The instructions will tell you what to fill out, how many copies to make, and where to go to turn it in.
• Form for adults with minor children:
• Form for adults without minor children:
To get a hearing date, follow the instructions, turn in the application and pay the filing fees. If you cannot afford the filing fees, there is a payment plan available. You will be given a slip of paper for you to call three to five business days later to schedule a court hearing. It takes about a month. If you are married, you will need to get a notarized document from your spouse … Following the hearing, you can (and should) immediately go get a certified copy of the name change order.
Gender Marker Change
In order to get the gender marker changed, you’ll need a letter from a licensed physician saying two things: one, that you are “irrevocably committed” to changing your gender, and two, that you have received “appropriate clinical treatment.” The signed letter or signed statement must include the physician’s license number. Physician can include licensed medical, naturopathic and mental health practitioner. A letter from a doctor is not required if you are doing a name change only.
If you are receiving SSI, SSDI or Medicare benefits, you will need to inform them, so they can update that information as well. It takes only about a week to get a new Social Security card, but it will take over a month to get a new Medicare card. You will get a letter at the SSA office that same day that you can use until you get your updated Social Security card in the mail. Check Social Security website (secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0110212200#c) for proper wording for gender marker change.
You’ll want to obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate from your state of birth if you plan to modify it. Some states are much easier than others and requirements are changing constantly.
Arizona is among several states that will amend birth certificates to reflect changes to names and gender designation. Additional copies of birth certificates are $35 at vital records offices; provide certified change of name order from Maricopa, SSN card and a picture ID.
For all other states, Lambda Legal maintains an up-to-date list at lambdalegal.org/know-your-rights/transgender/changing-birth-certificate-sex-designations.
State Identification Card/Driver License
Changing your gender marker and name through the Arizona Department of Transportation and Motor Vehicles Department requires that you apply for a new license (duplicate) in person at any MVD office. To request your gender noted on your record to be changed, the letter or signed statement from any licensed physician is required. The letter must be presented within three months from the date the statement was signed. Also bring your copy of the change of name order, SSN card and the fee for duplicate ID which can cost anywhere from $10-$12 (MVD fees subject to change).
For more information on Trans Spectrum of Arizona’s resource guide, visit transspectrum.org.
Name & Gender Marker Change Clinic
For anyone seeking additional information on legally changing their name and/or gender marker, Arizona LGBT Bar Association and one•n•ten are hosting a clinic designed to help individuals legally chance their name and/or gender marker to align with their identities. Volunteer lawyers will provide free information and assistance with the paperwork and process to transgender and gender non-conforming adults, youth and children (please note that youth and children under 16 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian).