Tag Archives: ID documents

Victory! It’s now MUCH easier to change your name and birth certificate in DC!

We’re tremendously excited to announce that today, the Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Amendment Act went into effect in DC. What does that mean for you? There is now a faster, cheaper, and more confidential process in place for you to change your name and for those born in DC to get a new birth certificate with the correct name and gender marker.

Our friends at the National Center for Transgender Equality summed up the changes nicely:

As of today individuals can request updated birth certificates directly from the DC Department of Health Vital Records Division. To request a new birth certificate, an applicant must submit a signed gender designation request form along with a form signed by their healthcare provider stating that the applicant has had treatment appropriate for that individual for gender transition. The Department of Health will issue a new birth certificate with the designated gender and updated name if applicable.

Along with birth certificate changes, the new law made much-needed updates to the legal name change process in DC. Applicants no longer have to publish their name change in the newspaper, an outdated and expensive process that was particularly burdensome for the transgender community. In order to get a legal name change, applicants go to the DC Superior Court and submit a petition for name change, notify creditors and other interested parties directly of the upcoming legal name change, and then return to the court for the judge to grant their name change. The name change order can then be used to update the name on a birth certificate, passport, social security card, driver’s license or state ID, or other document.

You can find helpful folks able to help you through the process for name change, gender marker change, or both, at TransLAW, Whitman Walker Health Legal Services, or Casa Ruby.

A big thanks to all the activists, lawmakers, and DC officials who helped make this a reality!

DCTC Recommends Priorities for District Government

Last week, newly-elected Mayor Gray’s Director of the Office of GLBT Affairs, Jeffrey Richardson, attended a DC Trans Coalition meeting. Members of DCTC educated the Director about the needs of trans communities in the District, and we were assured that trans people (along with youth and aging LGBT people) would be among the administration’s top concerns.

For the occasion, DCTC prepared a list of priorities for the Gray Administration, and shared this with the Director. We broke it down by agency and listed the most pressing and achievable goals for each. Among our list were:

  • End the Prostitution Free Zones and move toward decriminalizing sex work;
  • Nominate one or more trans people to serve on the Commission on Human Rights;
  • Enforce the gender-neutral bathroom provisions of the DC Human Rights Act;
  • Restore funding to vital trans-sensitive social services like HIPS and T.H.E.;
  • Develop plans to address unemployment in the trans community;
  • Expand the Dept. of Corrections and MPD trans policies to include other criminal justice agencies in the District;
  • Fund the DC Trans Needs Assessment

..and much more. You can read the comprehensive list here.

Trans Rights Seminar

Join us for an informative seminar for DC area lawyers and advocates encompassing ID change documentation procedures and Transgender 101!

Information will cover DC, MD, and VA jurisdictions. Speakers include lawyers and legal professionals.

Tuesday, November 16 @ 6:30-8:30 pm
University of the District of Columbia, Building 39, Room 208

Presented by the DC Trans Coalition and UDC OutLaw.

VICTORY: MVA Delays Implementation of Harmful License Policy

We just received this great piece of news from Equality Maryland. Thanks to all of the DCTC supporters and allies who helped make this possible, especially those who signed on to our letter to the Governor. When we stand together, we can win!

From Equality Maryland:

Dear Friends,

As you know, the Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA) was looking at requiring an amended birth certificate in order for transgender individuals to update the gender marker on their driver’s license. It was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2010. This would have required going through the court system. Additionally, a birth certificate change can only be done if the sex of an individual has been changed by surgical procedure.

After literally hundreds of calls and e-mails into the offices of the Governor and the Attorney General, we just received wonderful news – the proposed policy has been halted.

The Attorney General’s office shared the following statement from the MVA:

MVA believes that the current policy on gender designation which has been in practice for almost a decade is secure and the procedures we have adopted ensures reasonable accommodation for individuals who are making a gender transition change. At this time, MVA is not effecting a change to that policy. However, written legal advice received from the Office of Attorney General clearly states that MVA’s current policy does not meet all statutory requirements and we are therefore continuing to work with the Office of Attorney General before making a final determination on whether a policy update is appropriate.

The MVA intends to stick with current procedures; however, they continue to assert that the policy may not meet all statutory requirements. Equality Maryland and our partners will work to convene relevant stakeholders to either secure a change in the statutory requirements or assess possible policy revisions. We have already scheduled a strategy meeting in the New Year.

Having a legal identity document that does not match a person’s gender exposes them to potential risk not just of embarrassment, but of harassment as well. We are pleased that the MVA was willing to halt the implementation of this dangerous policy change in order to allow for constructive dialogue. There is still work to do, but for now let’s take a moment to celebrate.

All the best to you and yours this holiday season,

Morgan Meneses-Sheets
Executive Director
Equality Maryland

P.S. Support our efforts to protect the rights of transgender Marylanders! We are on the front lines with you everyday working to update and enhance the protections that exist for transgender Marylanders and avoid rollbacks like the proposed policy. Help us keep up the fight by visiting http://equalitymaryland.org/donate/supporteqmd.htm today and making a donation!

DCTC & Allies Urge Maryland to Drop Proposed Changes to ID Policy

DCTC sent a letter today to the Governor and Attorney General of Maryland, asking them to stop the proposed changes we wrote about earlier to the MVA’s policy on changing the gender marker on state-issued ID’s. For more background, a summary of the current policy and proposed changes, and DCTC’s recommendations on how to proceed, you can read our letter by clicking here. Thanks to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Whitman Walker Clinic, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Maine Transgender Network, National Coalition for LGBT Health, the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance and all of our individual members who co-signed the letter on such short notice! This is a hugely important issue, and we’ll keep everyone in the loop as updates come through.

Here is an excerpt from the letter:

While each group has various reasons for concern, our common objection can be summarized as follows; transgender, transsexual and gender non-conforming (hereafter “trans”) Marylanders deserve identity documents that most accurately reflect the way they live their lives, and should not be forced to pay for expensive surgeries they may not desire nor need along with unnecessary legal fees in order to obtain accurate identification documents. Trans individuals already face tremendous challenges when accessing services and obtaining employment. Having to carry ID documents that do not match a person’s presentation or identity can place them at increased chances of discrimination, harassment and even physical violence. For the sake of trans Marylanders’ safety, we urge you to do what you can to help stop this dangerous and unnecessary policy change from being implemented.