Laws that pertain to transgender rights vary by states. This includes whether birth certificates may be amended for gender in your state, with many states requiring sex reassignment surgery before the change may be applied for.

California previously required this, but will no longer do so, beginning on September 1, 2018. In order to make sure your legal documents, including your birth certificate, reflect your gender reassignment, you will need to complete documents and file them with the appropriate authority.

What is the Legal Procedure for Amending the Gender on your Birth Certificate?

Previously, California required that a petition for gender change be filed in any county in California. Now, as of January 1, 2018, a California resident who was born in California may submit an application for gender change directly to the State Registrar, along with an affidavit affirming that the change is required in order to conform to the applicant’s gender identity, and is not for fraudulent purposes.

No attestation from your doctor is required. The old birth certificate is sealed, and the new one is issued. If you are also applying for a name change on your birth certificate, you will need to apply for this separately.

If you were not born in California, but now reside there, you will still need to file a petition with the superior court in your county in California, requesting the legal change of gender, and requesting a new birth certificate to reflect it.

The court will then issue a judgment stating the gender change, and ordering that a new birth certificate be prepared. No doctor attestation will be required after September 1, 2018.

What is the Court Order Procedure?

To obtain a court order, the individual shall complete the following steps:

  • Fill out necessary court forms;
  • Go to your court hearing; and
  • Receive your Decree Changing Name and Gender from the court.

Do I Need to Consult an Attorney?

Overall, the process for changing your gender on your birth certificate (in California) is straightforward. It can take a while and there are many steps, but there should be no reason you need help from a lawyer.

However, if you run into problems like needing attestation from a physician but they refuse due to discrimination or any other roadblocks that cannot be solved by filing a form, then it is in your best interest to contact a local California family lawyer. Once you’ve taken every step possible, they can let you know what your best options are and help you the rest of the way.