Maryland Administrative Gender Change FAQ

Did you know that if you were born in Maryland, there’s an inexpensive administrative option to change the gender on your birth certificate that doesn’t require you to go to court?

Since 2015, individuals with Maryland birth certificates have been able to submit paperwork to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Division of Vital Records to change the gender on their birth certificate.

Who does the law apply to?

You can take advantage of the administrative name change process if:

  • You have a Maryland birth certificate, and
  • You have “undergone treatment appropriate for the purpose of sex transition” or have been diagnosed with an intersex condition.

I wasn’t born in Maryland. Can I use this process?

No. This only applies to individuals with Maryland birth certificates. For information about how to amend an out-of-state birth certificate, see the National Center for Transgender Equality’s ID Documents Center or contact FreeState Justice.

Does “treatment” require surgery?

No! The administrative gender change process is available if you have “undergone surgical, hormonal, or other treatment appropriate for the individual, based on generally accepted medical standards.” No specific treatment is required, though a health care practitioner will need to confirm you are receiving or have received some sort of treatment.

Is “treatment” required if I’m intersex?

No! You just need to submit a form signed by a health care practitioner confirming your diagnosis with an intersex condition. No treatment of any kind is required in that situation. That said, under current policy, the administrative gender change process can only be used to change your birth certificate to a binary gender (Female or Male), so your birth certificate won’t list your gender as Intersex.

Who counts as a “health care practitioner”?

“Health care practitioner” includes physicians, psychologists, nurse practitioners, nurse psychotherapists, clinical nurse specialists, and some licensed social workers. The practitioner does not have to practice in Maryland. Not included are physician assistants (PAs), though patients regularly seen by PAs can typically have the form signed by the PA’s supervising physician.

How much does this cost?

The Division of Vital Records charges $10 to change your gender through this process, which is much less than the cost of changing your gender in the courts. If you need additional certified copies of your birth certificate, these will cost an additional $10 each. You may also need to pay medical expenses in order to get the form signed by a health care practitioner.

Can I change my gender to something other than Male or Female using this process?

Not at this time. If you are nonbinary, intersex, or otherwise want a third gender option for your birth certificate, contact FreeState and we can let you know about potential options.

But I thought I could now get an “X” gender marker in Maryland.

As of October 1, 2019, you can get an “X” gender marker (defined as “Unspecified or Other”) on your Maryland driver’s license or ID card issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration. That law did not, however, cover birth certificates issued by the Division of Vital Records. The 2019 law’s provisions allowing for self-attestation of gender without confirmation from a health care provider also does not apply to the birth certificate process.

Can I change my name through this process?

No. To change your name, you still need to file a petition with the courts. But, if you already have a court order changing your name but have not yet amended your birth certificate, you can attach a copy of that to the application to change your gender. The Division of Vital Records will then also change your name on your new birth certificate.

I’m under 18. Can I use this process to change my gender?

Yes, but your parent or legal guardian will need to apply on your behalf.

Will the new birth certificate be marked as “amended”?

No! You will receive a new birth certificate that does not state it has been amended. Also, if you previously obtained an amended Maryland birth certificate, you can use this process to receive a new birth certificate that does not specify it has been amended.

Are there any situations in which I might want to get a court order instead of using the administrative gender change process?

In certain situations, including where individuals are incarcerated, at risk of incarceration or institutionalization, or otherwise have a heightened need for legal documents affirming their gender, they may want to get a court order recognizing their gender. If you think this may apply to you, contact FreeState Justice.

Okay, what do I need to do to apply?

The Division of Vital Records has prepared a fact sheet and form that can be used to apply for an administrative gender change. Fill out the second page yourself, then have your health care practitioner fill out the third page. You can then mail the completed form, along with the $10 fee (checks or money orders should be made out to the State of Maryland), to the Division of Vital Records:

Division of Vital Records,
6764-B Reisterstown Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21215

I have other questions. What should I do?

Contact FreeState Justice at 410-625-LGBT (5428) or the Division of Vital Records at 410-764-3036.

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