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Modernized Birth Certificate Law Goes into Effect in DC Today

As of today updated birth certificates are much more accessible and affordable for individuals born in the District of Columbia. The new law removes outdated medical requirements and allows individuals to get an updated birth certificate without a court order. Individuals can now get new birth certificates issued with no indication that the gender and/or name was updated. Folks who were not born in DC can get a court order from the DC courts attesting to their gender change. Finally, under the new law individuals no longer need to publish their name change in a newspaper. The streamlined and accessible process created by this law makes DC a model modernized birth certificate policy. As of today individuals can request updated birth certificates directly from the DC Department of Health Vital Records Division. To request a new birth certificate, an applicant must submit a signed gender designation request form along with a form signed by their healthcare provider stating that the applicant has had treatment appropriate for that individual for gender transition. The Department of Health will issue a new birth certificate with the designated gender and updated name if applicable.

Along with birth certificate changes, the new law made much-needed updates to the legal name change process in DC. Applicants no longer have to publish their name change in the newspaper, an outdated and expensive process that was particularly burdensome for the transgender community. In order to get a legal name change, applicants go to the DC Superior Court and submit a petition for name change, notify creditors and other interested parties directly of the upcoming legal name change, and then return to the court for the judge to grant their name change. The name change order can then be used to update the name on a birth certificate, passport, social security card, driver’s license or state ID, or other document. NCTE applauds all the hard work that has gone into the successful passage of this law, including members of the DC City Council, Mayor Vincent Gray, the Department of Health, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Andy Bowen from the DC Transgender Coalition. These changes will make a huge difference in the lives of many transgender individuals. If you were born in the District of Columbia and would like help updating your birth certificate, please come to our next Name and Gender Change Clinic. You can find the dates of the next clinic on the Trans Legal Advocates of Washington (TransLAW) website, or contact Whitman-Walker Health Legal Services. If you are involved in activism efforts to modernize burdensome and outdated birth certificate policies in your state, please contact us at ncte[at]

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