** Disclaimer: Please note that the transhealth info provided below may have changed since it was last updated on 05/23/2019. Visit the resources below for more information or Contact Alder Health with any questions **
The physical and emotional changes associated with transitioning can be overwhelming, but there is another side – an administrative side – that must be considered as well. Ignoring it that could make your day-to-day experiences difficult. Here are some things you’ll need to keep in mind.
What Does the Name Changing Process Entail?
One of the first things you’ll need to do is change the name on your Social Security card. This involves applying either at your nearest Social Security office or through the mail. As you would probably expect, there are several steps involved in this process. These include:
- Submitting an application for a new Social Security card
- Providing proof of your citizenship status and your identity
- Proof of your name change. You can provide a copy of a court order reflecting your Pennsylvania birth certificate gender change, a marriage or domestic partnership certificate, a divorce decree or a citizenship certificate
For more information on the process, please see Transcentral PA's Website.
How Do I Change Gender on My Social Security Card?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) accepts several different documents that provide evidence you have changed your gender, including:
- A Court Order
- U.S. passport
- Birth Certificate
You can also show a letter from your medical provider that confirms you have received clinical treatment for your transition. If you choose this option, the doctor will need to be a licensed physician with whom you have a doctor/patient relationship. He or she will need to be familiar with the treatment you have received, and the letter will have to be on his or her office letterhead.
For more information on the process, please see:
How do I Change My Gender on My Driver’s License?
Pennsylvania has adopted the policy that recognizes the difference between sex and gender. To change your gender marker you will need to have a form completed by your medical provider or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with whom you have a therapeutic relationship.
How Do I Change My Passport?
Under the current policy, you can obtain a full ten-year passport with an updated gender marker if you have had clinical treatment determined by your doctor to be appropriate in your case to facilitate gender transition. No specific details are required about what type of treatment is appropriate for you.
What should a Physicians Letter Include?
The State Department policy provides model language for physician certifications. Certifications must be on the physician’s office letterhead and include all of the information seen here, including the physician’s license or certificate number. Ask your physician to use the exact language of the below model - the letter should not include any additional language or information.
Additional tips: Ask your physician to sign this letter in blue ink so the State Department can tell it is an original signature. Also ask for multiple original copies so you can keep extras just in case!
I, Physician’s Full Name, Physician’s medical license or certificate number, Issuing U.S. State/Foreign Country of medical license/certificate, am the physician of Name of Patient, Date of Birth of Patient, with whom I have a doctor/patient relationship and whom I have treated (or with whom I have a doctor/patient relationship and whose medical history I have reviewed and evaluated).
Name of Patient has had appropriate clinical treatment for transition to (specify male or female).
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the foregoing is true and correct.
Signature of Physician
If you live outside Pennsylvania, please see the resources listed here: