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I strongly urge you to amend your birth certificate as soon as you have completed all the physical changes you intend to make.
Here's why you should do it:
If it's available in your state of birth, request that your record is impounded or sealed and a new record is created.
Instructions (a general guide-- laws vary by state)
2. Get a signed, dated, notarized letter from your surgeon confirming the date of the procedure. The surgeon should include your name, date of birth, date of surgery, type of surgery (male-to-female), and where it was performed.
3. Obtain your original birth certificate or a certified copy.
4. Obtain a certified copy of your Court Order for Name Change
5. Write a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services in your birth state (see Becky's state by state information). Explain that you are transsexual and seek to amend your name and sex and have the original birth record impounded. They will send you instructions, or possibly a form which can be used by any state to order information on your birth record to be changed. Remember, your state may have their own rules as to what they are authorized to order another state to change on a birth record. You will need to check state law yourself or contact your courthouse or legal advisor. It's a good idea to obtain written instructions from your birth state. I needed to show my instructions to the judge so that she understood what was being requested.
6. Fill out all forms exactly as specified, making sure to specify that the birth certificate should be impounded and a new birth certificate should be created for the registrant.
7. If your current state of residence allows ordering the record in your birth state to be impounded, you can get the order certified where you live (otherwise, you should see about returning to your birth state and doing it in person). Go to your county courthouse, where the Clerk of Court or Deputy can assist you in preparing the proper forms. It is very likely you will have to pay a fee, and it is also likely you will need to appear before a judge. The cost for the appearance will vary significantly: I paid $221 in Illinois.
8. Appear in court. You can appear in court for yourself (pro se), meaning you are your own lawyer. It's easy if you have all the forms filled out correctly. You should consider having a lawyer or TS friend who has been through this help you if you are uncomfortable filling out forms yourself. You will probably have to fill out a cover sheet, a Complaint, and an Order that the judge will sign.
Everyone I encountered at my local courthouse, including the judge, had never done one of these before, and they process almost 20,000 cases a year. I recommend coming in with all of the necessary information, including the written instructions you received from your state. Below is the text of the Complaint and Order I wrote out by hand, which worked fine.
Again, the wording will depend on your state's laws, and your birth state's requirements. Be sure to have someone in the County Court offices look over all your materials before you appear in front of a judge.
9. Return the form imprinted with the court seal along with any required fees and documents. I recommend you not trust this document to the standard U.S. Mail-- you should send this through an express service so it can be tracked in the event of its loss.
10. Enjoy your new birth certificate!
Dr. Becky Allison's site is the primary web resource for amending a birth certificate.
These sites may also prove to be helpful:
Lambda Legal: Amending Birth Certificates to Reflect Your Correct Sex
National Center for Health Statistics
UK procedures: A reader notes:
A note for those seeing non-US surgeons
Please note that some states are now requiring those who have reassignment procedures outside the country to have these procedures confirmed by US-licensed physician. For example, here is the revised 2005 Illinois requirement:
If you have the procedures done outside the country, you should have an exam by a US physician who will give you a notarized letter confirming the procedures have been completed.
Some states require evidence of "irreversible" medical procedures. However, the question of what constitutes irreversible medical procedures has not been established yet. In some cases, you may be able to get a gender change based on an orchiectomy or other procedures that are irreversible, but are not vaginoplasty.
The following information is courtesy Natalie G.