California name change for transgender women

Disclaimer: This is legal talk, not legal advice. Laws vary by state, and some of the information discussed on this page may not be applicable in your case. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information and provide it without warranty. Laws change and this information may contain errors and omissions. It is up to you to confirm any information herein by doing your own research.

California allows for women in our community to change their names before they have sex reassignment surgery.

This is a supplemental page for the main page on California name change.

2008 update:

The DS-11 is currently available at

and the DS-19 has been superceded by the DS-5504, found at

Alternatively, the "Passport Application Wizard" at will automatically generate the correct form after a few questions are answered.

I received the following instructions from a reader in November 2004.

How I changed my name in California


I 1st set an appointment with my psychiatrist to fill out DMV form DL328. I got the form through this helpful yahoo group which has form DL328 available for download. I filled this form out like below:


I didn't actually need to have my psychiatrist fill out that form: any medical doctor would do. I was told that a therapist with even a PhD would not have qualified.

I also needed to have form DL44 filled out. The DMV said that only an original form would do: not a copy. I called the DMV and had them mail me two of the forms. I filled it out as common sense would dictate as it was pretty straight forward.

I had previously set an appointment with the DMV and I went in with both forms. The lady who helped me had to look up some regulations, but otherwise it went very smoothly. I have heard of others who say they've had problems at this step. If the clerk asked me for my court ordered name change I would have answered that this is my name change: that the California constitution allows for immediate spontaneous name change. Had I continued to have a problems, I would have asked for a supervisor.

Note: as of April 15th 2001 Sally Walker at the DMV (916) 657-4484 is supposed to be available for help regarding TS name change issues.

But I didn't have a problem.

I got my temporary license and headed straight over to the Social Security office. This was needed immediately as the DMV checks SS#s on the name change form against the Social Security records.

The security guard asked to see my name change, but I told him California law doesn't require a court order, and that the process I was doing that day was my name change. He let me in and I filled out the SS form there to change my records as I waited. Again, this was common sense, and I just asked the guard which form to use.

The clerk said they couldn't change the sex on my records without a letter from my Dr saying I had SRS. They did however, change my name after seeing my old ID and then my new temporary license.

My next step was to change my bank records. I did this by waiting for my new driver license with my picture, and I took that into my bank, and after a few minutes of the clerk checking her procedures, I had it changed. For all my credit cards I sent them a printed scan of my old driver license and SS card as well as a printed scan of my new driver license and SS card. That, plus a letter that I made and filled out I sent them. Here is a sample letter I sent:

New Full Name
Account Number: ________________________
1234 Any St.
Anywhere, CA 90000
Re: Name/Gender Change:
From: Old Full Name / Male
To: New Full Name / Female

Please change my name on your records from: Old Full Name to: New Full Name for account number: _________________________. Also, if you have a gender flag, please change that to female. New Full Name has been my name since September 18th 2001.
Please see a large scan of my new and old Driver License and Social Security Card.
Lastly, please notify me when you have made the change.
Thank You!

_____________________ Date: ___/____/2004
New Name

Old signature: _____________________
Old Full Name

This worked for all my credit cards. Next up was when I wanted my passport. I had my Therapist write me a letter saying that I would be having SRS and traveling to Thailand, and that a passport with Female on it would help me out. I also included a copy of my old and new driver license and SS cards.

[2008 update:

The DS-11 is currently available at

and the DS-19 has been superceded by the DS-5504, found at

Alternatively, the "Passport Application Wizard" at will automatically generate the correct form after a few questions are answered.]

I then went to the State Dept website and followed the instructions here on how to apply for a passport. I brought two passport pictures, the printouts mentioned above, my therapist's letter, a certified copy of my birth certificate, and the filled out application for a passport to a location that processed the applications.

I got my passport with Female on it, but it only lasted one year. I was told it would be extended when I submitted a letter from my SRS surgeon saying SRS was preformed. When I got home, I send the State Dept that SRS letter, form DS19 filled out, and I sent them a copy of this letter certified with a return receipt:

I did receive my amended passport with the extended expiration date along with my SRS letter within a few months.

The only main things now needed changed were my birth certificate and my college records. I have already been living with my new name for years, but I still needed to go to court to change my name yet again for my birth certificate and for my college records. I always knew I would have to do this, and I dreaded going to court. That's why I did my 1st name change steps how I did above since I would have to go to court yet again to change my birth certificate.
I basically followed these instructions which I found at Dr Becky's great site. It said that I would need to order form VS24(S) here. I then when to California's court info page here and downloaded the following forms:






Form nc200.pdf has important instructions on the 2nd page that I followed. I filled out all the above forms (but cm010.pdf was not used in Orange County so I tossed it when at the courthouse clerk's counter), and anywhere where it asked for name of petitioner I put my old name otherwise it was straight forward. I made sure I dated everywhere that needed to be dated and signed wherever it called for (old name – ugh).
I went to Orange County's Probate Court which for me was:

Lamoreaux Justice Center (LJC)341 The City DriveOrange, CA 92868-3209(714) 935-7000

I asked a guard where I should apply to change my name and he told me. I waited in line and when I saw the clerk she went over my paperwork and said the hard part was over with. I picked a newspaper from a list she gave me and I added that to form nc220.pdf. I should have already done that from a list available here for OC. I'm sure that info is available at other county courthouse websites.

I was given a date to appear, and I paid their fee. When I got home I called the newspaper I chose, gave them my credit card number and I faxed in form nc220.pdf.

When my time came, they called me by my last name only which was nice since that could have been embarrassing otherwise. They asked for a certified copy of my birth certificate which I showed them. They gave that back and said the change was approved! They asked me how many certified copies of the court order I'd want and I said seven which was expensive, but I thought I'd play it safe. I picked up those copies at the clerks office and walked out of there on a cloud.

Now to get vital statistics to change my birth certificate. I had already received form VS24(S) and followed the instructions that it came with as well as the these instructions referenced above. I basically looked at my current birth certificate and noted the box numbers that needed to be changed. Here is that form (though they need an original):

They also send out a form that needed to be notarized to get the new certified copy of my new birth certificate. They provide one new certified copy of my birth certificate and charge for any extra. I believe it cost me $35 for the change and an extra copy. I sent out those forms certified mail with a return receipt, and got a postcard in the mail saying I had a 10 month wait. However, after less than half that time I got my new birth certificate! The final things I did was take an extra SRS letter and court order over to the Social Security office and have my gender marker changed. They said all they really needed was my SRS letter and the court order was optional. About a month after I called them and asked for a confirmation of the change which they confirmed. Lastly, I wrote the Admissions and Records office of my college and sent them a certified copy of my court order and a letter that I cannibalized and changed a bit from my letter to banks above. About a month after, I requested a copy of my transcripts and there was my new name with no mention of the old! There are a few other things that I will need to do. The main thing is to deal with credit agencies and change that info, but that is for another day. Perhaps another year. The above does not constitute legal advice, but is rather a simple narrative of how I changed my name in California.
This file may be distributed with no limitations.

November 29, 2004

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