For many non-binary and transgender individuals, altering one’s birth certificate to match the individual’s gender correctly can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Often individuals do not know what material is required or where they need to go to find their birth certificate. This process may exacerbate stress and can be incredibly difficult to work through. However, it is essential to address this, as an individual’s birth certificate is vital to establishing legal treatment by society. While this may be a complex process to navigate, this is everything you need to know about changing one’s gender on a birth certificate in New York state.
What Material is Required?
This process and the necessary material depend on if an individual is an adult or a minor. An adult must be the individual whose name appears on the document and who is over seventeen (17). They may request a change in the listed gender or select a non-binary classification.
For children, the process is slightly more involved. It requires the presence of the parent or parents of the minor attempting to change their birth certificate. The minor, in this context, an individual below the age of 16, may not submit the request, but a parent or guardian may. The parent or guardian’s name must also be on the birth certificate.
The application materials also differ between adults and minors. Adults must include a complete application, the “Application for correction of Certificate of Birth for Gender Designation for an Adult,” and a notarized affidavit that this was a gender error. At this time, one may also submit any name changes the individual may wish to request.
Material Requirements for Minors
For minors, their parent or legal guardian must fill out a similar application. However, one is meant for parents and legal guardians and meets the affidavit requirement. The parent or legal guardian may also request to alter the minor’s name at this time. However, like the adult process, an individual must include a court order authorizing the name change with the application.
Changing a birth certificate does not require any fees, and the clerk will provide the initial copy of the document free of charge. However, future copies cost around thirty ($30) dollars.
Once this process is complete, the New York government will seal the old birth certificate, and one can take the court order for the name change to any other state for legal documents. After the procedure is whole, only the altered birth certificate will be available upon future requests.
Are There Any Restrictions to Birth Certificate Gender Changes?
The most significant restrictions, see above section, are the limitations regarding minors’ ability to alter their birth certificate and the necessity of a court order for a name change. These are the only minor restrictions under New York state’s Gender Recognition Act, or GRA, which went into effect on June 24th, 2022. This act leads to several changes in the gender recognition process and its impact on New York citizens.
The first change is that the law no longer requires an individual to publish a notice of their name change in newspaper or other publication. GRA marks a significant change in the law, as previously, New York law forced individuals to publish a notice regarding their new name to the public. While the law did not limit this requirement to transgender individuals, as all name changes required public announcements, this standard effectively singles out transgender individuals since many names are gendered. This change ensures that the law protects the privacy of transgender individuals and does not force them to effectively out themselves to the public.
The GRA and Institutions
The GRA forces institutions, such as universities and employers, to abide by the individual’s choice and correctly recognize their preferred gender or face charges under the New York state discrimination laws for all people. It also applies to non-US citizens in New York who receive name changes in the state and those born out of state.
The GRA expanded the law from just birth certificates to IDs and driver’s licenses as well. The only area where the GRA cannot enforce recognition of a gender change on federal documents is the supremacy of federal law over state law. So while most records will reflect the correct gender, updating a passport may be a separate process.
What is required to correctly change an individual’s gender on their birth certificate?
Depending on whether an individual is a minor or an adult, individuals must complete an application and submit it to the courts with a notarized affidavit. An adult may present this to the court and represent themselves. At the same time, a minor must have a parent or legal guardian, depending on whose name is on the birth certificate, to submit the materials on their behalf.
Are there any limitations regarding changes to a birth certificate in New York?
At this time, very few restrictions exist in this process. The most significant limitations relate to name changes and require the courts to approve any name change before or at the same time as the birth certificate correction.
Does this law apply to driver’s licenses and other forms of ID?
The law does apply to other forms of ID, but only state IDs, so one may update a driver’s license to reflect an individual’s gender correctly. Still, federal identification, such as a passport, is unlikely to reflect this change.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one are wish to update your birth certificate gender, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.