Identifying those who are living their truths
A recent analysis found that 1 in every 250 adults, or almost 1 million Americans, identify as transgender. Young adults aged 18 to 24 are more likely than older age groups to identify as transgender.
The process of changing one’s name and gender on state and federal IDs and records can be challenging, since “each agency that issues identity documents has different requirements for changing name and gender markers, as well as a separate process for doing so.” Apart from the administrative fees associated with legal name changes, “many states still require some sort of doctor's note or gender-affirming surgery in order to get one's gender marker changed," while some also require “sex to be changed ‘by surgical procedure’ but do not actually specify what procedure (or series of procedures) will suffice.” Surgery is often prohibitively expensive, both for the procedure itself and for costs associated with recovery. According to a 2015 survey, one-third (29%) of Transgender respondents were living in poverty.
In 2011, it was reported that only 21% of transitioned Americans had been able to update all of their IDs and records, while 46% indicated that they have been able to update some of their IDs and 33% had updated none.
Having an ID that matches your presentation can mean “the difference between safety and harassment,” and it can help to “mitigate the complications that arise when different documents say different things in situations like health care.”
The National Center for Transgender Equality provides an overview of name and record changes in each state and at the federal level and the Transgender Law Center provides legal information and resources.