One of the most affirming steps of a gender transition is being able to make sure that your legal identification matches the gender with which you identify. This provides a necessary legal validation to your personal journey and presentation with the changing of government-mandated documents and registrations, taking you one step closer to becoming your inner self.
It’s an exciting time and a big step, but it can be really confusing. Don’t let a time of celebration become bogged down with the complications of filing and claiming your rightful gender. It’s easier in some states than others, each having their own process, so in this case, you’re seeking to change the gender on your Ohio license/ID.
Here’s how to keep moving forward.
Gender Change Only
Step 1. If you’re seeking to change your gender on your state-issued license or ID, you’ll need to call the main office of the Ohio BMV (614-752-7500) or visit their website for the Declaration of Gender Change Form. You can not currently change the assigned gender on your birth certificate in the state of Ohio, but it is fully possible to change your gender without amending that document.
Step 2. The Declaration Form can be downloaded online through a PDF or mailed to the requester, so you’ll receive the form at your convenience.
Step 3. Once you’ve received the Declaration of Gender Change Form, you will need to receive approval from a certified physician. You must get the signature of a medical doctor, a therapist, or a psychologist in order to authenticate the validity of the forms. The physician must attest that the transition is being conducted in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care, formerly known as the Henry Benjamin Standards of Care.
Step 4. As you’re going through the forms, there are a few things to remember and/or look out for. If the gender identification on the form is marked as transitional, a new form must be submitted for each driver’s license or ID renewal until the process of gender identification is complete. If the form is not submitted at renewal, the gender marker will revert back to the original gender.
Step 5. Another thing to remain aware of: Each individual is limited to changing their gender back to the original gender marked on their driver’s license or ID card only one time in the state of Ohio.
Step 6. Make sure to save a copy of the form for your records before mailing it or emailing it back to the BMV.
Step 7. Once you’ve received the approval of a doctor, understood the rules and guidelines, and made copies for your own records, you can proceed with mailing, emailing, or faxing the form to the BMV.
Step 8. Processing for these forms usually takes 7-10 days. The bureau will notify the applicant once their forms are approved and their gender has been legally changed.
Step 9. The applicant can then take that notification to their local BMV office, where they’ll get their new license issued. You must provide the old license to the BMV. Standard license or ID fees do apply. It costs $24.50 for a new license or state-issued ID card.
Step 10. Once the BMV issues a new license, it’s yours! Congrats!
Name and Gender Change
You may also be seeking a new legal name to go along with your amended gender on your ID card. Here’s how you can change your name in the state of Ohio before filing for a gender change.
Remember: Certain criminal convictions render you ineligible for a name change in the state of Ohio.
Step 1. You must first file an application for a legal name change in the probate court of the county in which you primarily reside. You must have been a resident for at least one full year, with proof of residency, to file.
Step 2. At least 30 days before the court hearing for your name change, you must publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper (apparently it’s 1955), but you can have this requirement waived if you feel it inflicts with your personal safety.
Step 3. Upon proof of the prior steps, the court can grant a legal name change for the applicant.
Step 4. Once you’ve been granted a legal name change, you can proceed to the same steps as those for a gender change.
Your journey has just begun and we are so happy for you. Your ID should exemplify your innate pride in your identity, serving as a legal affirmation of your true self, a validation on behalf of the law as to the legitimacy of your presentation, and we hope you can enjoy the feeling of a new ID card that actually demonstrates the truest you.
Don’t live in Ohio? Find out how to change the gender on your driver license in your state!