Legal Matters
Specific to the
Transgender Community

TRANSGENDER LAW

The attorneys at NicholsonPham provide assistance with the legal issues of the transgender community. We are opposed to legislation, such as HB2, that limits the ability of people to live consistent with their gender identity.  We work with the trans community to assist in aligning legal and gender identity. In fact, one of the first questions we ask every prospective client is to identify their gender pronoun

In the gender alignment journey, trans individuals many need assistance with

  • Name change
  • Gender marker designation change on birth certificates
  • Gender marker designation change on driver’s licenses
  • Gender marker designation change on passports

Trans parents may need assistance with

  • Changing their gender on a child’s birth certificate
  • Challenges to their fitness as a parent based on trans identity

Call: (919) 883-4900

NAME CHANGE FAQ

HOW DO YOU CHANGE YOUR NAME IN NORTH CAROLINA?

Name changes are completed by filing a notice and petition in the county in which you reside, and they can be time consuming. You will be required to show proof of good conduct and character and you must have a background check from both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Bureau of Investigation. Permission is required only by your parents if you are under age 18, and in some cases, permission will only be required of one of your parents.

HOW MANY TIMES CAN I CHANGE MY NAME?

North Carolina allows only ONE name change, per lifetime, outside of marriage/divorce.

WHY WOULD I BE DENIED A NAME CHANGE?  

Because you have already been granted one name change under the statute or because you are seeking to change your name for an illegal purpose.

WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE TO DO AFTER A NAME CHANGE?  

You should update your Social Security Card and your driver’s license.  

You should go to the Durham Social Security Office located at 3004 Tower Boulevard, Durham, North Carolina 27707 with a certified copy of the Order of Name Change. Please be aware photocopies will not be accepted. (We’ve attached the application for your convenience.)

The Social Security Administration’s office hours are Mondays through Fridays from 9am until 4pm except on Wednesdays. Their office hours on Wednesdays are from 9am until 12pm.  You may call them at the number listed below to make an appointment in advance to expedite your wait.

You should update your Driver’s License.

Please allow 36-48 hours after you update your information with the Social Security Administration before you attempt to do the same with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Go to the DMV with a certified copy of the Order of Name Change, an updated social security card, and be prepared to pay for an updated license.

GENDER MARKER CHANGE FAQ

HOW DO YOU CHANGE YOUR GENDER MARKER IN NC?  

You will need to have a doctor sign an affidavit stating that you have had gender reassignment surgery.  The question of what constitutes gender reassignment surgery is an open question which you might want to discuss with a lawyer.  Once you have that letter you may file the appropriate paperwork with Vital Records if you were born in NC and the NCDMV to change your gender marker.  If you were not born in NC the process is more complicated to achieve a gender marker designation change on your birth certificate. Consult with a lawyer who understands transgender law to learn about the process and any challenges to your ability to change your gender marker.

NAME CHANGE AND GENDER MARKER DESIGNATION CHANGE

NicholsonPham lawyers can help you change your name. For people born in North Carolina, a name change order will result in an entirely new birth certificate being created at the Vital Records office. For North Carolina residents who were born in other states, a name change order may or may not result in a new birth certificate in your state of birth. Laws vary across the country. We work with colleagues throughout the United States to obtain name changes in other states if permitted.

If you are changing your gender marker, there are additional steps you will need to take, besides changing your name. Currently, NC law allows you to change your gender marker but has one of the strictest standards for doing so in the country.  NC requires that you have a letter from a doctor indicating that you have had surgical sex reassignment. If you were born in North Carolina and you meet the requirements for gender marker designation change, Vital Records will issue a new birth certificate with your correct gender marker. If you were born in another state, you may or may not be able to get a new birth certificate with a correct gender marker.

Gender marker change can be exceptionally difficult for adolescents and young trans people for many reasons.  NicholsonPham has been working to develop strategies to assist young trans people in getting gender marker changes.  Call NicholsonPham for assistance with legal gender change.