Oregon is one of the most progressive states in the U.S. when it comes to laws regarding transgender people. In the past, those people had to go through a court process if they hoped to have their gender changed on their birth certificate. Nevertheless, the process became much more accessible as of January 1, 2018.
Birth certificates are essential pieces of documentation. They are required to accomplish many vital tasks. For instance, it is required to provide a birth certificate when first registering for a social security number, which is crucial to navigating life in the U.S.
So, there are many difficulties for a person without a birth certificate. This issue comes up for transgender people because their gender does not match the one listed on their birth certificate. It becomes necessary for someone transgender to have their birth certificate and other documents amended to reflect the gender they present as.
Transgender people will most likely change their name when changing their gender on their birth certificate. The process in Oregon is now reasonably simple for them to change both their sex and their name on their birth certificate to reflect a legal name change.
The History of Changing Your Birth Certificate in Oregon
Until 2018, Oregon required people to get a court order to change the name or gender on their birth certificate. Concerns over this process included the public nature of a court hearing. Transgender people might have, in the past, avoided having their birth certificate updated because of fears of having to declare their transition publicly and perhaps have personal medical information exposed.
The process has now been simplified to make a court order not necessary to amend a birth certificate. This affords more privacy and eases those seeking to change their name or gender on their birth certificate.
What Is the Process to Change Your Birth Certificate in Oregon?
Oregon’s new law for amending birth certificates went into effect on January 1, 2018. It is available to people born in the state of Oregon. Those born in other states will need to follow that state’s process for amending birth certificates. People must be 18 years of age or older to apply for the change. If they are under 18, a parent listed on the birth certificate or the legal guardian must apply for them.
The applicant fills out a simple form, “Application to Change the Name and/or Sex on a Record of Live Birth to Support Gender Identity Information Sheet.” It needs to be notarized, which requires identification and payment to a licensed notary. The application is submitted with a $35 fee.
The applicant is then sent a new record of live birth with their new name and sex listed. There is another $25 fee that is required to pay for the certificate itself (and another $25 for each additional copy).
It is recommended that individuals request their original birth certificate to be familiar with its details. Your name before your application to amend must match the one on your original birth certificate.
Are There Reasons Why I Might Still Need a Court Order for My Name and Gender Change?
Yes. Even for people born in Oregon, who can avail themselves of this new process, there are things to be aware of. First, if you amend your name and gender on your birth certificate but move to a new state, the new state might not recognize your gender change.
Also, the new birth certificate will not be sufficient to change federal types of documentation, such as your passport. A court order or physician’s letter will be required.
It can also be a challenge to make all your records and forms of documentation match when your new birth certificate does not match the gender of your old records.
Thus, it can still be useful to obtain a court order for ease of travel outside of Oregon.
How Do I Get a Court Order to Change My Gender?
To obtain a court order to change your name and sex legally and receive a new birth certificate, you will need to go to your local county courthouse and fill out a petition. You will later need to attend a hearing on the matter. After the hearing is held, you will be issued a new certificate of live birth unless your petition is denied.
Where Can I Obtain My Birth Certificate? How Can I Obtain My Birth Certificate?
If you need to obtain your birth certificate, there will most likely be an official certificate of your birth on file in the locality in which you were born. Because these are state records, they should be located in the vital statistics office or an equivalent local office. It is important to note that fees associated with requesting a copy of your birth certificate can differ widely based on where you were born.
There are many reasons why a person may need to obtain a copy of their birth certificate. Two of the most common reasons for doing so are if the birth certificate becomes lost or stolen. It is essential to always have an attainable copy of your birth certificate for the following reasons:
- Applying for or renewing various government-issued identification documents;
- Applying for social security benefits, especially a social security card;
- Joining the military;
- Claiming pension or insurance benefits;
- Applying for various other memberships, credit cards, etc.; and
- Registering for school, among others.
Generally speaking, if you were born in Oregon, you would need to contact the vital records office. From this website, you can find information regarding how to request a copy of your certificate and what fees you will need to pay.
If you were born abroad to American parents, they likely registered your birth with that country’s U.S. embassy or consulate. In doing so, they should have received a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (or “CRBA”). You would need to obtain a copy of the CRBA through the U.S. Department of State. Depending on the country, a vital records office located in that country may also have your birth records.
Nevertheless, this process varies if you were born on an American military base in a different country. Your parents may not have registered your birth with the country’s United States embassy in such circumstances. You would then need to contact the hospital where you were born to determine how to obtain a copy of your birth certificate.
Finally, if you were born in a different country and were adopted by American parents, you would not have received a U.S. birth certificate. This is because the country you were born in would have issued the certificate. To obtain a copy, you need to contact the nearest foreign embassy or consulate in the country you were born. The embassy can also assist in getting the document authenticated or translated into English.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Change the Gender on My Birth Certificate in Oregon?
An experienced Oregon family lawyer can help you file and receive all the necessary paperwork. They will also make sure all documents are accurate such that the process is expedited. When there are errors in your court order, which the petitioner must draft, the judge may not grant it, and you will not be able to amend your birth certificate.