Monday, February 16, 2009

Birth Certificate Amendment - Sex Reassignment Surgery

From time to time transgender clients contact the office for assistance in securing an amendment of their birth certificate to reflect a sex change effected through sex reassignment surgery. In Virginia, the process is actually surprisingly straight forward even though Virginia is not what one would describe as a gay friendly state. The process is contemplated by Section 32.1-269.E., Code of Virginia of 1950, as amended, which reads in relevant part as follows:
§ 32.1-269. Amending vital records; change of name; acknowledgment of paternity; change of sex.
E. Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the sex of an individual has been changed by medical procedure and upon request of such person, the State Registrar shall amend such person's certificate of birth to show the change of sex and, if a certified copy of a court order changing the person's name is submitted, to show a new name.
The procedure for entry of a court order is as follows: A petition for an order of legal sex change must be submitted to the Circuit Court of the City or County of the petitioner's residence, supported by (1) documentation of the petitioner's prior name change, and (2) certified evidence of the completion of sex reassignment surgery together with a doctor's recommendation for the amendment of the petitioner's birth certificate. Inasmuch as there is no approved court form for this type of petition, it will be necessary to secure the services of an attorney who can prepare the necessary petition and requested final order. Unfortunately, some attorneys have refused to assist transgender clients in the petition process.
For individuals born outside of Virginia, the second step of the process will be to file appropriate paperwork with the Department of Vital Records of the state of the petitioner's state of birth. In some instances a further order from a court in that state - e.g., Florida - may be required to domesticate the Virginia court order in order for the out of state birth certificate to be amended. Since states vary, it is essential to review the particular requirements for states other than Virginia.

1 comment:

  1. Michael,

    Thank you so much for posting this critical information for those Transgender people trying to navigate the incredibly complex and archaic Virginia Code.