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 IDs 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 nonbinary Coloradans?

Jude’s Law, named for Jude, a young transgender student who testified on the bill four years in a row, allows transgender and nonbinary Coloradans of any age to have accurate, reflective identification documents (IDs). It means that transgender and nonbinary Coloradans can update their birth certificate, driver’s license, 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 newspaper publication to make the document changes. Note: the law only allows for an individual to request the gender designation update once. Beyond the one time, a court order is required.

You can read the full bill here.

2. To whom does it apply?

Any resident of Colorado is eligible to update 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 update.

3. When does it go into effect? 

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

4. What does a nonbinary, 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-nonbinary to select this designation.

5. Now that Jude’s Law has gone into effect, how do I update my birth certificate?

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.

For individuals 18 and older: 

  1. A completed Sex Designation Form
  2. A completed Form to Correct or Change a Colorado Birth Certificate
  3. Your current ID
  4. Applicable Fees
  5. If your legal name has been updated, you’ll need the certified copy of the legal name update order

For individuals under the age of 18:

  1. A completed Sex Designation Form
  2. A completed Form to Correct or Change a Colorado Birth Certificate
  3. Your current ID
  4. Applicable Fees
  5. If your legal name has been updated, the certified copy of the legal name update order
  6. A written request submitted by your parent or legal guardian to Colorado Vital Records to have your gender designation on your birth certificate updated
  7. 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 that says the birth certificate has been updated. 

Completed materials can be mailed to this address:

Vital Records Birth Unit 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South Denver, Colorado 80246 

Phone: 303-692-2226 Email: cdphe_birthcertificates@state.co.us

For a list of local vital records offices in Colorado, visit here. For information about what to do after your birth certificate is updated, click here.

6. Now that Jude’s Law has gone into effect, how do I update my driver license or other state identity documents?

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.

  1. To change your sex designation when renewing or applying for a driver license or identification card, you need to present a Colorado birth certificate or the DR2083 Change of Sex Designation form.
  2. Coloradans younger than 18 need a health care provider and a parent, guardian or legal representative to sign the DR2083 Change of Sex Designation form.
  3. Return the completed form to a driver license office and apply for or renew your credential to update your sex identifier. You must appear at an office in person to update your sex identifier.
  4. If you updated your name, please visit the Social Security Administration, then wait 24 hours before visiting a Driver License Office with your new birth certificate so the DMV can add your new name.

New identity documents must be obtained in person with your completed materials at your local DMV. For a list of local DMV’s, visit here.

PLEASE NOTE
Online renewal and renewal by mail cannot be used to update the sex designation on a Colorado driver license, identification card, or identification document.
Colorado law does not require residents to undergo any specific surgery, treatment, clinical care or behavioral healthcare to update their sex designation.
Under Colorado law, C.R.S. 42-2-107(2)(a)(III), the DMV may only amend a sex designation for a person’s DMV credential one time on that person’s request. Additional requests require the person to submit a court order indicating the sex change designation is required.

Additional information from the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can be found here.

7. How do I update my name? 

For step-by-step instructions on changing your name, visit the Colorado Name Project.

8. How much does each cost? 

To update 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.

9. 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?

Updating your birth certificate or state-issued ID will not change any other documentation, and in order to update 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 update federal ID documents first, then state ID documents (for example, update your gender with the Social Security Administration and then with the DMV) and has resources related to updating your ID documents.

To update 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 update 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 certifications 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 update 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 updating 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 12. 

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. 

10. Will updating my gender marker impact my name change?

Getting your gender designation updated will not impact your name change. In fact, if you have not yet changed your name at the time you update your gender marker, you can do so at the same time.

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

11. Do I need a court order to update my gender marker?

Not if it is the first time you are updating your gender marker. Under Jude’s Law, an individual has the right to request an update 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. If you need to update your gender marker a second time, a court order is required.

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

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

13. 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.  

14. 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.”

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. Can I use a gender-neutral gender marker 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.

19. 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.