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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 10, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 06
Bringing in the New Year
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Bringing in the New Year

by Kevin Wang MD Faculty
Swedish First Hill
Family Medicine
Residency Program
Special to the SGN

2017 brings in a new year full of challenges, opportunities and, in the case of the Seattle Gay News, another year full of articles from Swedish Medical Center. All of us at Swedish want to thank the readers of Seattle Gay News, whether it's print or online, for your support. We will be here so long as you continue to read and send in comments!

This year, we want to continue providing you information that is helpful to the LGBTQ community. We'll be talking about some of the projects we're hoping to get started this year at Swedish to provide a more welcoming environment for our LGBTQ community ranging from our adolescent patients to our geriatric ones. We'll continue talking about important preventative measures that you can address with your primary care provider along with some articles to help guide you through available community resources. As always, we're happy to write about topics that you'd like us to discuss. Feel free to contact those at Seattle Gay News (sgn2@sgn.org) and they'll forward over your requests!

So what are we going to write about this month? I decided to stray a bit from our usually medically focused article and write about something slightly different. I've had the opportunity to work with the Gender Justice League's (www.genderjusticeleague.org) Say My Name: Name and Gender Marker Change Clinics. They had many types of volunteers ranging from legal experts to social workers to case workers to medical providers to our amazing allies. I think this is also a great opportunity to review how to correct your name and gender markers on your legal documentation here in Seattle.

You might also be wondering why we decided to write about this and not about something like high blood pressure or cholesterol. I'm sure we'll get to those soon enough. My desire to write this article comes from my own trans* panel who have some serious concerns about our current administration along with legislation that may prevent our trans* community from pursuing these corrections. We want our trans* community to know that we are here to support you and want to arm you with a checklist on how to access these services!

First off, my go to place to find out how to correct your name and gender markers is www.transequality.org. This website has it all from how to change your name in your county to how to change your birth certificate information. You can also look up birth certificate information for other states if you were born outside of Washington. We'll get to that soon!

Let's start with name corrections. For those of you who live in Seattle, you'll need to file a petition with the clerk at your local district court division within the county of your residence. You'll need to bring in your Photo ID. A copy of this petition, along with a step-by-step guide, is found on http://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/district-court/name-changes.aspx. Keep in mind that there is a one-time fee of $171, cash only. Once the petition is filed, it will be presented to a judge for approval. I recommend getting additional copies of your name change order so that you can use it for other legal documentation changes.

Once you have your name corrected, most folks will follow that with a gender marker correction on your state ID and/or driver's license. It would be a good idea to wait until you have your name correction order in place so that you don't have to do these separately. This form does require that you meet with your primary care provider, since it requires their signatures. Just head on over to http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/genderchange.html to download the form. You can either go to a licensing office or mail in your form. Just remember that you'll need to have a copy of your current WA ID, a $10 payment and the form to have your gender corrected on your state ID/driver's license.

For those of you who were born in WA, you can follow this up with getting your information corrected on your birth certificate. WA requires that you have a letter from your primary care provider that states your previous name (the one found on your original birth certificate), date of birth and corrected gender marker. Your provider does not need to have any details of your treatment. You also need to write a letter that has your name on record, birthdate, place of birth, parents' full names listed on your birth certificate, contact information and the correction requested. You should also include one of the copies of name change orders (see above) if you want your name corrected, as well. You can also order copies of your new birth certificate. Each copy costs $20. Additional information can be found at http://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/BirthDeathMarriageandDivorce/GenderChange.

For those of you who are born outside of WA, the Transequality website has information for each state. Just go to http://www.transequality.org/documents. You can search for your state to check out the requirements. Some states, however, are stricter and require that you have had gender affirmation surgery.

In regards to federal documents, let's start with passports. This will require that you obtain a letter from your primary care provider. They're pretty strict with the wording on this letter. Your provider can find a sample letter on the Transequality website. If you plan on correcting your gender marker on an existing passport or getting one for the first time, you'll need to download the application (it's on the website) and provide proof of US citizenship (previous passport, birth certificate), proof of identity that has your signature and photograph (previous passport, driver's license), a recent color 2'x2' photo, name change order (if you're changing your name, too), a provider letter along with the fee. This will require that you go to an office in person. This information above may be found on the website at http://www.transequality.org/know-your-rights/passports.

If you'd like to simply correct your name, this can be done by filling out the passport renewal application and sending this in with your most recent passport, a recent 2'x2' color photo, order for name change (see above) along with an applicable fee. This information can also be found at http://www.transequality.org/know-your-rights/passports. The last bit of information we'll talk about is correcting your name and gender marker on your social security record. Keep in mind that gender information is not typically recorded on the card. However, some programs do match gender against social security records and you'll need to keep that in mind if your employer isn't as accepting. To correct your gender information, you will need a US passport with the correct information, birth certificate with the correct information or a signed letter by your provider (easiest for you!). There is a sample letter on the Transequality website that your doctor can use. Just go to http://www.transequality.org/know-your-rights/social-security. To correct your name, you'll need a name change order (see above). There are other ways to correct your name but this is the easiest.

I hope that this information will give our trans* community the tools they need to take some matters into their own hands. And for our trans* people who are seeking primary care, know that Swedish is there to provide you with the care you're looking for!

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