Oregon is one of the most progressive states in the U.S. when it comes to laws regarding transgender individuals. In the past, those individuals had to go through a court process if they wished to have their gender changed on their birth certificate. However, the process became much easier as of January 1, 2018.
Birth certificates are extremely important pieces of documentation. They are required in order to accomplish many important tasks. For example, it is necessary to provide a birth certificate when first registering for a social security number, which, in itself, of course, is crucial to navigating life in the U.S.
So, for a person without a birth certificate, there are many difficulties. This issue comes up for transgender individuals 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 individuals will most likely change their name when they change their gender on their birth certificate. The process in Oregon is now fairly 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 individuals to get a court order in order to change the name or gender on their birth certificate. Concerns over this process included the public nature of a court hearing. Transgender individuals might have, in the past, avoided having their birth certificate updated because of fears of having to publicly declare their transition, and possibly have personal medical information exposed.
The process has now been simplified so that a court order is not necessary to amend a birth certificate. This affords more privacy and ease to those seeking to change their name and/or gender on their birth certificate.
What is the Current 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 who were born in other states will need to follow that state’s process for amending birth certificates. Individuals must be 18 years of age or older in order 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 does need 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 people request their original birth certificate in order to be familiar with the details listed on it. Your name prior to 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 individuals 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.
Additionally, the new birth certificate will not be sufficient by itself to change federal types of documentation, such as your passport. A court order and/or doctor’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.
Therefore, for ease of travel outside of Oregon, it can still be helpful to obtain a court order.
How Do I Get a Court Order to Change My Gender?
In order to obtain a court order to legally change your name and sex and to receive a new birth certificate, you will need to go to your local county courthouse and fill out a petition to do so. You will later need to attend a hearing on the matter. After the hearing is held, unless your petition is denied, you will be issued a new certificate of live birth.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Change the Gender on My Birth Certificate in Oregon?
An experienced Oregon lawyer can help you file and obtain all the necessary paperwork. He will also make sure all documents are correct such that the process is expedited. When there are errors on 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.