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Gender Identity and Government IDs

Helpful Information on How to Update Gender Identity on Government-Issued IDs

A person’s gender identity is defined as their innate sense of belonging to a particular gender. It specifically differs from the gender assigned at birth, which is based on the presence of external genitalia. Gender identify is something that develops biologically along with the body and mind. Accordingly, a transgender person is someone whose gender identity does not match their gender assigned at birth. Such misalignment can result in gender dysphoria, a medical diagnostic term for a condition in which someone experiences clinically significant distress persisting for at least six months.

The treatment for gender dysphoria is not limited to pharmaceutical or surgical procedures. Rather, one of the first steps is to transition socially. This can mean using the pronouns that the transgender person identifies with. A large step forward in treatment is when one’s gender identity is acknowledged by others, including the government by way of allowing updates to government issued identification.

Four Options to Change Gender on a NC Driver’s License

As things stand now, to change one’s gender on a North Carolina driver’s license, an applicant has four options:

  • Using a DMV provided gender designation form. It requires the signature of a physician, psychiatrist, physician’s assistant, licensed therapist, counselor, psychologist, case worker or social worker, that certifies that the applicant’s gender identity is either Male or Female.
  • A valid US passport displaying the gender that is being requested.
  • A birth certificate displaying the gender being requested. (Although this is unclear, it is best to get a certified copy.)
  • A Court Order granting a change of gender.

Once the correct documents are with the DMV, they will issue a new license or ID card with a new picture.

Amending a US Passport

Amending a US passport is even simpler. At this time, medical documentation is not required. On a first-time or renewal/update application, one simply chooses between Male or Female. The State Department is also working on providing an X marking for gender nonconforming, intersex, or nonbinary. Just as with any application for a passport, the applicant must provide a recent photo.

Are Birth Certificate Changes Possible?

Birth Certificate changes in North Carolina currently require surgical intervention. Pursuant to G.S. § 130A-118, applicants must send a written request to change the gender of the birth record, and the request must be “accompanied by a notarized statement from the physician who performed the sex reassignment surgery or from a physician licensed to practice medicine who has examined the individual and can certify that the person has undergone sex reassignment surgery.”