If you are a transgender person living in Texas, you may be wondering how to change your gender on your driver license. This is an exciting step in your transition and we want to help you take it! Unfortunately, in Texas, the process isn’t exactly simple, but hopefully this guide will make it easier for you. The main document you need to get is a certified court order that verifies the gender change. We’ll explain how get that court order and help you put together everything you need to change the gender on your Texas driver license. Let’s do this!
Step 1: Get a Letter From Your Doctor
Ask your physician, mental health professional or other medical doctor for a letter verifying that you are undergoing a gender change. According to Jami Ward Shofner, a writer who changed her Texas documentation to match her gender several years ago, the letter should meet the following requirements:
- Use the doctor’s letterhead and include name, the address of the practice and the practice’s phone number. The letterhead should also include your doctor’s medical license or certificate number, the issuing state of said license or certificate, and the doctor’s registration number with the Drug Enforcement Agency.
- The body of the letter should closely mirror the example below, taken from Shofner’s blog, JamiWard.Blogspot.com:
To whom it may concern:
I, [Doctor’s Full Name, M.D.], a practicing physician specializing in [branch of medicine], certify that [Ms./Mr. Full Name] with the DOB [DD/MM/YYYY] and SSN of [XXX-XX-XXXX] and Texas Driver’s License number [XXXXXXXX] is transgendered, and is a patient of mine currently under my treatment at my clinic for the neuroendocrinological condition commonly referred to as transsexualism. [She/He] has received the proper clinical and irreversible medical treatment for transition to [her/his] new [female/male] gender, and I currently continue to serve as [her/his] physician overseeing [her/his] care and treatment.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States that the foregoing is true and correct.
[Doctor’s Signature, M.D.]
[Doctor’s Full Name, M.D.]
Step 2: Fill Out Forms and Gather Documents
The two state forms you must fill out are the Petition to Change the Sex and Gender Identifier of an Adult and the Final Order to Change the Gender and Sex Identifier of an Adult. Unfortunately, these forms are not readily available online, so it’s best to call or visit your local State District Court and ask for help in locating the files. You can see an example of the forms specific for Travis County on pages 3-9 of this PDF document. If you want to change your name on your driver license, along with your gender, the name-change forms can be found at TexasLawHelp.org.
Note that in order to file these forms with the court, you will have to pay a fee of between $250-$300, depending on the county in which you live. If you want the fees to be waived, you can file a Declaration of Indigency form.
Step 3: Get A Fingerprint Card
You will need to get your fingerprints taken and file them along with your petition. You can go to a fingerprinting service or visit your local police department. For a full list of fingerprinting locations in Texas, click here.
Step 4: File Your Petition to Change Your Gender
Head to the District Clerk’s Office in your county to file your petition. Make sure you have your doctor’s letter, necessary forms and fingerprint card. It’s a very good idea to make copies of everything for your own records. Make sure you have current forms of ID with you as well, like Texas drivers license, social security card, passport and birth certificate. It does not hurt to be over-prepared!
Step 5: Go to Court
To present your case to the judge, you can either enter the uncontested docket or make a private appointment. (Learn more about signing up for a court date when you file your petition at the District Clerk’s Office.) If you’ve never been to court before, check out this article on proper courtroom etiquette to prepare yourself.
Even after you’ve gone through this long process, it’s important to realize that a judge can deny or refuse to sign your petition. As a 2014 article on DallasNews.com stated, “Many judges across Texas, particularly in conservative counties, don’t regularly grant gender marker changes.” For that reason, many folks going through this process choose to get a lawyer who specializes in LGBT+ issues. The resources below will help you get started.
- Austin area: Trans Name and Gender Marker Project
- San Antonio area: Make It Official pro bono program
- Dallas area: Katie Sprinkle, P.C., openly transgender lawyer specializing in name and gender corrections
- Houston area: Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston
Step 6: Get Court Order Certified
At last! The final step before you head to the Texas DPS to change your driver’s license! Get several certified copies of your court order from the District Clerk’s Office. You only need to present one copy when you go to the DPS, but you definitely want extra copies for your personal records. Note that you will have to pay a small fee for each copy.
Step 7: Go to Your Local DMV Office
The Texas DPS website lists the certified court order as the only document you need to bring when applying to change your gender on your drivers license. Just in case, you should also gather other documents that the DPS requires for first-time Texas driver license applicants. For a full list of those documents, click here.
And once you do that … drumroll please … your Texas driver’s license will finally match your gender identity! We hope our guide helps you in starting this process. For more resources for transgender people living in Texas, check out the list below: