Trans? Need help with documents?


Elections have consequences, as we are often told.

That's probably never been more true than it is right now. While I volunteered and voted for his opponent, and while she won the popular vote, it appears that in January we will be facing the inauguration of President Trump. There will be consequences, but some of our most vulnerable citizens will bear greater burdens than others.

I want to help. While Oregon is friendlier to trans people than many states, there are things that trans folks should do before January 20th because of the changes to federal procedures that may come with a hostile administration.

Let me start with this. If you are despondent about the election and fear you might harm yourself, please seek immediate help. The Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860 in the US. If you don’t want to speak, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a chat you can use. You have value, and you are important to your chosen family and the community.

I strongly urge that you act as soon as you can to obtain a driver's license or state ID and birth certificate that reflects your gender identity. I don't think the process to do this in Oregon will change given the results of this election, but if you haven't done it yet, you should.

You should also obtain a 10-year passport reflective of your gender identity before the State Department is passed to the new administration, when the rules for this process may change. The National Center for Transgender Equality has a good guide for the current rules.

The current rules permit you to obtain a passport reflective of your true gender identity. If your underlying support documents don't match up with your true gender identity, you can still get a passport, you just need a letter from your physician certifying you are undergoing appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to your new gender. The letter doesn't need to be specific as to what treatment you are receiving, but it does need to state your "new" gender. The State Department has a sample letter, if your doctor isn't experienced in providing certification.

The process in Oregon was designed to allow people to obtain a name and gender change without the help of a lawyer, and your local courthouse may have the documents you need to represent yourself in this matter. If they do not, or you want some help navigating the process, I will offer you my legal services at no cost. You will still have some court filing fees to cover, as well as the cost of obtaining copies of your new birth certificate. There's a reasonably clear guide for Oregonians about how to accomplish each step at Oregon.gov.

It's okay to be sad and scared about what this means for the future, but don't let it paralyze you into inaction. Take steps before President Obama leaves office to protect yourself.


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