Identity documents (IDs) are needed for many activities of daily life—working, enrolling in school, opening bank accounts, voting, traveling, and accessing government resources and institutions. However, the name and gender change process is complicated and can be expensive. Many state and federal governments have intrusive and burdensome requirements—such as proof of surgery or court orders—that make it, at times, impossible for transgender people to update their IDs. To have one’s ID out of alignment with one’s gender identity exposes a transgender person to a range of negative outcomes, from denial of employment, housing, health care, and public benefits to harassment and physical violence.

  1. What did Jude’s Law do, and what does it mean for transgender and non-binary Coloradans?

Jude’s Law, named for Jude, a young transgender student who testified on the bill four years in a row, allows transgender and non-binary Coloradans of any age to have accurate, reflective identification documents (IDs). It means that transgender and non-binary Coloradans can update their birth certificate, driver’s license, and/or Colorado state ID with the options male (M), female (F), or neither male nor female (X). It gets rid of the requirements of surgery, a doctor’s note, a court order, and publication requirement to make the document changes. Note: the law only allows for an individual to request the gender designation change once. Beyond the one time, a court order is required.

You can read the full bill here.

  1. To whom does it apply?

Any resident of Colorado is eligible to change their Colorado State ID, which includes Coloradans who are “not lawfully present,” which is simply a legal term related to the type of ID that those without citizenship documentation can receive.

New birth certificates can be issued to anyone who has a Colorado birth certificate. Additionally, if your state allows for the alteration of your birth certificate, Colorado is able to provide the court order for the change.

  1. When does it go into effect? 

Jude’s Law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

  1. What does an non-binary, or “X” designation, on your birth certificate or state ID mean? 

A designation of “X” simply means neither male nor female. Note: a Coloradan does not have to identify as transgender or gender non-binary to select this designation.

  1. I can’t or don’t want to wait until January 1, 2020 to change my state ID. What are my options to change it today?

To get your state ID changed to reflect your gender identity, you must fill out a Change of Sex Designation form with a licensed behavioral health or medical provider confirming that your gender designation needs to be changed. Once this form is completed, return it to your local DMV. Note: you must bring the Change of Sex Designation form to your local DMV in person (you can find your local DMV here). For more information, visit the Colorado Official State Web Portal.

On January 1, 2020, Jude’s Law will put new rules into effect, to include the following documentation:

For individuals 18 and over:

  • A statement to your DMV confirming that your original driver’s license does not align with your gender identity (this statement can also be submitted by a guardian or legal representative.
  • Submit your new birth certificate (refer to number 6)

For individuals under 18:

  • A statement from your parent to your DMV confirming that your original driver’s license does not align with your gender identity (this statement can also be submitted by a guardian or legal representative.
  • A statement from a medical or mental health provider stating that you’ve “had treatment for gender transition” (surgical, hormonal, or other), and that their professional opinion is that the birth certificate should be changed. You can find a template for the statement here.
  • Submit your new birth certificate (refer to number 6)
  1. How do I change my name and birth certificate? 

Name change

For step-by-step instructions on changing your name, visit the Colorado Name Project. Note that the bottom of the webpage addresses changes to the process to be put into place with Jude’s Law.

Birth Certificate change

Right now there are options in place to get your birth certificate changed to match your gender identity, though Jude’s Law, which allows for individuals to select an X gender designation and also allows for an updated birth certificate to the place of the original, does not come into effect until January 1, 2020.

To change your gender designation on your birth certificate now, submit the following to Colorado Vital Records (address found below):

To see the step-by-step instructions and for more information, visit here.

When Jude’s Law comes into effect on January 1, 2010, instructions will change to include the following documents:

For individuals 18 and older:

  • A written request to Colorado Vital Records to have your gender designation on your birth certificate changed (note: the request can also be submitted by a guardian or legal representative.)
  • A statement to Colorado Vital Records indicating that your original birth certificate does not align with your gender identity. Once these documents are submitted and the court processes them, you are issued a new birth certificate, as well as a court order which says the birth certificate has been changed

For individuals under the age of 18:

  • A written request submitted by your parent  to Colorado Vital Records to have your gender designation on your birth certificate changed (note: the request can also be submitted by a guardian or legal representative).
  • A statement to Colorado Vital Records from a medical or mental health provider indicating that your original birth certificate does not align with your gender identity. Note: the state registrar must be authorized to verify this information with your provider. You can find a template for the statement here.
  • Once these documents are submitted and the court processes them, you are issued a new birth certificate, as well as a court order which says the birth certificate has been changed.

Completed forms can be mailed to this address:

Vital Records

Birth Unit

4300 Cherry Creek Drive South

Denver, Colorado

80246-1530

Phone: 303-692-2226

Email: cdphe_birthcertificates@state.co.us

For a list of local vital records offices in Colorado, visit here. 

  1. How much does each cost? 

To change your Colorado state ID, standard DMV fees apply. To view the cost of a new birth certificate, look to the Vital Records fee schedule. If you cannot afford the fee, you can request to file without payment. To do so, follow the instructions outlined here.

  1. If I get an X designation, how does it impact other IDs, like my social security card, out-of-state birth certificate, passport, and health insurance card?

Changing your birth certificate or state-issued ID will not change any other documentation, and in order to change your passport, social security card, you must do so individually. Note: Currently, the U.S. Federal government only has “male” and “female” options for federally-issued documents.

For general information about how an X designation impacts other documents, explore National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)’s FAQ regarding gender-neutral IDs. Note: The Colorado Name Change Project suggests that you change federal ID documents first, then state ID documents (for example, change your gender with the Social Security Administration and then with the DMV) and has resources related to changing your ID documents.

To change your gender designation on your social security card, mail or bring in the following to your local Social Security office. Note: proof of citizenship is required to change a Social Security card.

  • Identity documentation (driver’s licenses, state-issued IDs, or US passport are all acceptable forms of identification)
  • Gender documentation (U.S. passports, state-issued birth certificates, court orders, or medical certification are all acceptable ways to establish this)
  • Complete an Application for a Social Security Card 

For more information, visit the Social Security website’s FAQs.

To change the gender designation on your passport, the federal law still requires that you have “appropriate clinical treatment” for transitioning from a medical provider, and the lengths of time for which your passport is valid depends upon your stage in the transition. Submit the following documentation in person or by mail to your nearest Passport Acceptance Facility:

For more information on changing your passport, go to the US Department of State website.

Note: While Colorado’s Dana Zzyym’s court victory allowed them the right to have a passport that accurately reflects their identity, having X designation passports are still being discussed in the courts.

For out-of-state birth certificates, please reference question 11. 

Regarding health insurance, contact your insurance carrier. According to the NCTE, “While some insurance plans may automatically refuse coverage of services that appear inconsistent with a gender marker in the plan’s records, insurance plans generally do not base their gender data on, or match it with, Social Security records, but instead use data from enrollment forms.”

For more information on your healthcare rights, visit the NCTE’s Know Your Rights page regarding healthcare. 

  1. What does it mean for my name change and/or my gender marker change?

Getting your gender designation changed will not impact your name change. In fact, if you have not yet changed your name at the time you are deciding to change your gender marker, you can do so and are not required to post your name change in the newspaper for 3 weeks (as required for other name changes).

For questions about name changes, visit The Colorado Name Change Project.

  1. Do I need a court order to change my gender marker?

No. Under Jude’s Law, an individual will have the right to request a change to their birth certificate and identification documents without a court order. Additionally, if you come from a state where a court order is required, Colorado is able to provide that court order.

  1. I have a birth certificate issued by another state/jurisdiction. Can I change my gender marker in Colorado? 

If you were born in a state that requires a court order for an individual to change their gender marker, Colorado courts are able to provide that court order to allow you to make the necessary modifications.

  1. Is it an issue for my gender marker on various identity documents to be different?

No. It is legally not required for you to have your gender designation match on all identification documents—your identity will still be able to be verified regardless. The main issue with this is the possible confusion that may arise from having different gender designation on different identity documents, which may be uncomfortable. For more information on gender-neutral IDs, visit the NCTE’s ID Documents Center.  

  1. Are there gender neutral options for how a parent is listed on their child’s birth certificate?

Yes. Colorado will allow parents to declare themselves as “mother,” “father,” or “parent.”

  1. If I have a newborn child, can I get an “X” marker on their birth certificate?

Currently, the law only allows for an X designation to be elected later in life through an amended birth certificate (even though the amended birth certificate will replace the original in official record, as discussed above.) However, parents are not able to select an X designation for their children at birth.

  1. Why is self-designation the most accurate policy for gender updates?

Identity documents are intended to accurately reflect an individual for identification purposes in many different settings. For officials to properly identify a person and address them correctly, it is important that the gender marker reflects that individual’s gender identity and expression.

Requiring verification from judges, healthcare providers, or other officials puts in place an unnecessary barrier for individuals seeking to obtain an accurate identity document, as they may not have access to a healthcare provider or money for a court petition. Individuals know best what gender marker is appropriate for them for interactions where they must show official identification.

  1. What if my gender-neutral ID does not match the gender marker on my other IDs and documents?

If you have different gender markers listed on various IDs or records, it may cause confusion or raise eyebrows when interacting with officials or applying for services. However, according to NCTE, legally speaking, it is not a problem to have records and IDs with different gender markers, and officials should still be able to verify your identity

  1. Can I use a gender neutral to travel and go through TSA or airport security?

According to NCTE, TSA does not yet have an official policy on how they process IDs with gender neutral markers, despite the fact that various other countries issue IDs with “X” designations. Airlines are required to collect name and gender information and submit it to TSA before each flight, and airlines currently only have M or F options. It is ideal to bring an ID to fly that has a gender marker that matches the gender you submitted to the airline. However, if you don’t have an ID with a gender marker that matches what you submitted to the airline you can likely still get through security, though you may receive additional scrutiny or questioning.

  1. Will my ID be compliant with federal and international laws?

According to NCTE, yes. The REAL ID Act requires states to list a gender on licenses, but the Department of Homeland Security explicitly states that they “leave the determination of gender up to the States […].” An X gender marker is consistent with the practice of the International Civil Aviation Association (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations, which uses an internationally-recognized passport format that allows for M, F, or X gender markers.