Facing a different problem
Helping people change their name is only half of the mission for Colorado Name Change. It’s obvious that we specialize in name changes. It’s in our name after all.
However, many people that change their names have a deeper, more pressing need. The need to update their gender on important documents like their driver’s license, social security card, and passport. This is very important for the transgender community and it has historically been difficult to do.
In the past it has been necessary to get a signed letter from a doctor. The letter needed to say that their patient has completed appropriate medical treatment to change their gender, or are at least in the process of receiving treatment.
Requiring a doctor to write a medical treatment letter created a significant barrier for people that wanted to change their gender marker. Just because someone no longer identifies with their birth gender doesn’t mean they want to undergo medical treatment to physically change it. And the idea of stating this could be uncomfortable for both the doctor and patient.
A bold new solution
Fortunately, a lot has changed in Colorado since 2020. In 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed Jude’s Law, which went into effect at the beginning of 2020.
Jude’s Law allows people to change their gender marker on state documents without requiring a letter of medical treatment. This change makes it much simpler to update your gender marker on a Colorado driver’s license. It also allows you to get a new birth certificate showing the gender you identify with instead of amending your previous birth certificate.
Jude’s Law is named for a courageous transgender teen form Boulder, Colorado. She pushed lawmakers for years to pass the law. The law is named after her because of the courage and dedication she showed while advocating for the new law. Now all Coloradans can easily change their gender on their state documents as part of Jude’s ongoing legacy.
Jude’s Law unfortunately does not make it easier to change the gender marker on your social security card or passport. But it is a huge step forward for most people. The identification that most people see daily is your driver’s license. Having your gender marker updated on your driver’s license will make life easier. Your primary identification will accurately reflect the gender you identify with. This makes it less likely you will be harassed when people check your license.
How does it work
If you need to update your gender marker on Colorado documents we are happy to help you through the process.
Colorado Birth Certificate
We recommend that you start by updating the gender marker on your Colorado birth certificate first. This requires you to fill out a Sex Designation Form as well as a Form to Correct or Change a Colorado Birth Certificate. You will need to fill out both forms and send them in with a copy of your current Driver’s license and payment. The Colorado birth certificate form will help you determine the amount and types of payment accepted. It also includes the address to mail the completed forms to.
You will also need to send a short letter stating that you are requesting a new birth certificate because you no longer identify with your birth gender.
If the change is for a minor, a parent or legal guardian will need to write the letter for them. Minor’s will also need to have a letter from a doctor or mental health provider verifying that they no longer identify with their birth gender. This is very different from the old medical letter requirement though. It does not need to say that they have undergone treatment of any kind.
Colorado Driver’s License
Once you have updated your Colorado birth certificate you can update your driver’s license. You will need to fill out a Change of Sex Designation Form and take it to your local DMV driver’s license office. The full list of offices can be found here.
You will need to take a copy of your new birth certificate and a short letter stating that you need to change the gender on your driver’s license because you no longer identify with the other gender.
Once again, if the change is for a minor, a parent or legal guardian will need to write the letter for them. Minor’s will also need to have a letter from a doctor or mental health provider verifying that they no longer identify with their birth gender.
A better tomorrow
This is an exciting time to be able to help people with gender changes in Colorado. In 2020, Jude’s Law is making it much easier to do. Your driver’s license and birth certificate should be an accurate reflection of who you are. No one should have to explain why the gender they identify with does not match their identification.
We believe this issue is an important one for both safety and peace of mind in the transgender community. It is great that Colorado has passed and enacted Jude’s Law to better serve the community. We hope to see more states and the federal government follow.