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Transgender Legal Services

Having Your Correct Gender Identity Recognized in Missouri

NAME CHANGE AND LEGAL GENDER RECOGNITION

Among the most basic and indeed essential of things many transgender individuals need assistance with is securing formal legal recognition of their correct gender identity.  This is achieved most commonly through a change of their name and gender marker on birth certificates, driver licenses, passports, and other documents used for government and identification purposes. Missouri's legal process by which a person can have their gender identity recognized consists of two steps. Following is a summary of that process:

Step 1: Name Change: First, is undergoing the legal process required changing your name on your original birth certificate. This involves filing a Petition for Name Change with the local circuit court which culminates in a brief hearing in which the Court hears testimony ensuring the name change is not made to the detriment of anyone's interests. The Court will thereafter enter judgment changing the name that is subsequently finalized upon the expiration of three weeks of publication in a local newspaper to publicize your name change. Thereafter, you are able to utilize the certified copy of the judgment to change your name on all other legal documentation that shows or otherwise requires your legal name.

Step 2: Gender Recognition: Next, after obtaining a judgment legally changing your name, you can now Petition the circuit court in your county for a formal recognition of your correct gender identity. While the statute governing this process specifically mentions the need for "the sex of an individual … has been changed by a surgical procedure" (RSMO § 193.215(9)), what the court will actually accept depends on rules and practices of the particular circuit or county in which you are seeking the gender recognition.

What is generally true across the state, however, is that, in addition to your petition for gender recognition, you need a signed and sworn statement from your doctor or other qualified medical professional requesting that the court recognize your gender, and that future medical intervention is unnecessary or even possibly harmful as you are already irrevocably living as your correct gender. Whether or not the medical procedures you've undertaken allow you to state that you are irrevocably living as your correct gender is ultimately a decision that needs to be made by you and your doctor, but whatever your final decision, for it to qualify for the purposes of the affidavit, it needs to be a diagnosis your doctor feels is an accurate and true statement when made under oath based on the procedures you've undergone and their own best medical judgment.

This also requires publication before becoming permanent, however, with assistance from us, you may be able to have this requirement waived.  With a final certified copy of the judgment, you can now have your gender marker changed on all official and legal documents.  Most importantly, you may now have the Missouri Bureau of Vital Statistics issue a new birth certificate with your correct gender marker.

Call us at (314) 373-7135 or send us an email to schedule your case evaluation.

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Ahearn Kershman LLC is a Clayton based law firm serving clients throughout St. Louis County, St. Louis City, and St. Charles County.

230 S Bemiston Ave
Suite 770

Clayton, MO 63105
(314) 373-7135
Fri: 09:00am - 03:00pm
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu: 09:00am - 05:00pm

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