There is no one way to be trans or gender diverse. There are so many ways to experience gender - it’s one of the many things that makes our community so fierce! The resources we provide below are intended to support folks at any point in their transition no matter the path they decide. If you have any questions, spot an outdated or broken link or you’d like to add a resource to this page you can reach us via email at email@example.com.
These resources shouldn’t be considered legal or medical advice. If you have civil legal questions reach out to our friends at QLaw or attend our first Wednesday support group and get support at our monthly QLaw clinic. If you have medical questions we suggest you ask your primary care provider. This information is accurate to the best of our knowledge and was last updated on 4/25/2017.
Not every trans person decides to pursue a medical transition; regardless, it’s important to find a primary care provider that can offer you the trans competent care you’re looking for. We maintain a database of healthcare providers (primary care physicians, mental health care providers and others) that have experience serving our communities.
If you are pursuing a medical transition it’s important to know what standards of care your physician and mental health care provider are using. The two most common standards of care are WPATH and ICATH. While we don’t advocate for either standard of care over the other we think it’s important that trans and gender diverse folks feel empowered to select health care providers that are using standards of care that reflect what they want in their transition.
For many in our communities accessing trans competent health care can be difficult for a number of reasons. In addition to asking providers in our database which insurances they work we also ask which providers work on a sliding scale. If you can’t find a provider in your community that will work with your insurance or on a sliding scale send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to get you some referrals.
In Washington State you don’t have to undergo any kind of medical transition to change your name. A legal name change can be done by any person over eighteen years of age and if you’re under the age of 18 you’ll need the support of your parent or guardian. If you don’t have supportive parents or guardians reach out to our friends at QLaw to find out what your options are.
In order to have your new name reflected on your driver’s license, passport, and other forms of legal identification you’ll need a court-ordered name change.
The method of obtaining a court-ordered name change varies by state, by jurisdiction, and even by which court within a district the petition is filed in. The following information is specifically for residents of King County. This process should be fairly similar across the State of Washington but we’ve included links to resources for the name change process in other counties at the bottom of this section.
The process can vary wildly between states; for non-Washington residents you can check out this great resource from our friends at the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Trans folks use the same process to change their names in King County as everyone else. You can find an overview of the process here.
When filling out the Petition for Name Change form you’ll need to provide a reason for your desired name change but it can be as simple as “common usage” or “I do not like my present name.” If it makes you uncomfortable you don’t have to provide a reason that you feel will out you as transgender.
Depending on the court and their schedule, when you file, you may need to appear before a judge for a hearing that day or a subsequent one, or you may have the entire process handled at the court clerk’s window.
You will need to bring:
When you file your completed Petition for Name Change form in person and pay the current fee of $171 it will include one certified copy.
If you are low-income, you may advise the clerk, and with additional documentation, be allowed a reduced fee. Court fees may be waived at the discretion of the court based on income and whether a person is receiving government living expenses. Take documentation of these situations and provide them to the court clerk. Contact the county clerk’s office if you have questions on what type of documentation to provide.
Additionally, Name Aid may be able to help with name change costs if you reside in a District Court in Mason, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Kitsap, Thurston, Pierce, Snohomish, King and Clark counties. The Gender Alliance of the South Sound (GASS) has created a fund to reimburse court and clerk charges to those trans persons changing their names who qualify for a reduced fee through WA State GR34 rules. For specific questions about this program you should reach out to our friends at GASS
If you are not a citizen of the United States, the judge may request additional information at your hearing, including your green card, naturalization documents, or passport. If you have more questions about navigating the name change process as a non-citizen you can reach out to the amazing folks at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
The completed form will be forwarded to the county recorder. While it may take the county clerk’s office several weeks to record your court order, you may pick up certified copies at the time your name change is granted for a small fee ($5 in King County, for example) for each copy.
You will want at least two additional copies to use in changing other documents. Always request that the Name Change Order copy be returned to you, but realize that some entities (Passport Agency, Social Security Service, and the Internal Revenue Service) require you to submit a certified copy that may not be returned to you.
The following links are for residents of Washington State currently living in one of the specified counties:
The state provides a helpful overview of updating your gender marker here. You will need to have a licensed health care provider help you complete the change of gender designation request form. Mail the form to the Department of Licensing address indicated on the form.
When you receive a letter back with instructions to go to your local DOL office for a new photo, you will need:
You will get temporary black and white card and new card will sent to you by mail.
The amazing folks at the National Center for Transgender Equality have a great overview of how to update your information with the Social Security Administration; you can find it here.
The IRS should receive the updated information on your name change from the Social Security Administration within 10 days, but it doesn’t always occur promptly.
However, you can be sure of this notification by submitting the IRS Form 8822 Change of Address using your new name and listing your previous name under ‘prior names.’ The IRS does not maintain information on gender status.
Again, our friends at the National Center for Transgender Equality have got you covered; check out their extensive resource on getting a passport that reflects your updated gender marker and name here.
In 2012,the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Policy Memorandum revising the treatment of gender designations for transgender people on their immigration documents. In order to find out what current law and practice is and how it applies to you we recommend you reach out to a lawyer. If you’re having trouble finding one we suggest checking out our friends at QLaw or the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
In Washington State you do not need to disclose your gender to register to vote. To update your voter registration with your updated information you simply need to submit a new voter registration form using your updated name and gender marker and listing your previous name and gender marker in the ‘former registration’ section of the form. You can find a voter registration form here. You can fnd a voter registration form here, print, fill it out and mail it your county’s election office or you can updated it online here.