The year is 2019. Everything has changed even the genders assigned at birth. Today, the existence of lesbians (a homosexual woman) and gays (a homosexual man) are widely recognized. In the same vein, there are also transsexuals who have a gender identity different from their assigned sex, and undergo medical assistance to transition themselves to the gender in which they identify.
In the leading case of Obergefell vs. Hodges decided in 2015, the United States Supreme Court held that same-sex marriage is now allowed in all 50 states of the USA on the ground that it is protected under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clause. Consequently, bans on same-sex marriage by conservative states are declared unconstitutional. This is a landmark decision because finally, after decades of fighting for equality, the world now acknowledges the fundamental right to marry of the LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, Transgenders) community.
Another particular right that transsexuals can invoke is their right to change their gender marker. This means that state and government agencies can legally change their listed gender in official documents such as a birth certificate.
The procedure varies from state to state. In Texas, a gender marker change is legal in any county, provided that the applicant complies with the requirements. The legal effect is that it shall be recognized in the entire state of Texas.
Documents and Forms Needed
First off, he/she needs to fill out two forms, namely: Petition To Change the Sex and Gender Identifier of An Adult, and Final Order To Change The Sex and Gender Identifier of the Adult (Order). The former is a pleading to the judge to order agencies for the change in official documents, and the latter is signed by the judge to make the official order. These forms are filed with his/her fingerprints on card stock, which are taken for a fee and are not allowed to be done electronically.
There is a lot of paperwork involved in this case that he/she must furnish. The most important one is a letter from his/her medical doctor stating the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, that a gender marker change is in the applicant’s best interest, and that he/she is being treated properly for the diagnosis. The last one is significant because the applicant has to prove that he/she is undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by way of prescribed medicines.
Other important forms include a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs in the event that he/she wants to waive the filing fees, a copy of certificate of discharge if he/she was convicted of a felony, a copy of his/her discharge from felony probation if he/she has successfully completed probation, and a copy of Sex Offender Update Form if he/she is required to register as a sex offender.
The applicant has the option to hire a private attorney to review his forms.
Filing of the Petition
The filing of the petition can be done personally or online. All the aforementioned documents must be attached to the petition. In case the applicant is filing them online, an instruction in the ‘Comments’ section that the paperwork must be submitted to the court for consideration.
Without the foregoing waiver, the applicant will pay a filing fee of $285 in the District Clerk’s Office.
Appearance in Court
The applicant must personally go to the court and appear before the judge with the copies of said documents on hand, and other supplemental documents such as a passport.
During the hearing, he/she must prove that the gender marker change is in a reflection of the gender that he/she identifies with, and not for the reason that he/she is getting away from the law.
If the judge signs the Order, the applicant must obtain certified copies from the District Clerk’s Office and notify the state agencies involved with the change.
If the petition is denied, there is no gender marker change that will take place. However, the applicant may return to the court with additional evidence to continue with the request.
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