*Scroll down past the interview for "The Process"*
As part of our work with Newport Out LLC & Newport Pride Non-profit 501(c)(3) and our mission to support the local LGBTQ+, we understand the power of providing access to trustful resources that will impact people's lives. Below you will find a collection on How To Legally Change Your Name and Gender In Rhode Island. Most of these resources have been researched thanks to TGI Network of Rhode Island and Thundermist Health Center. We are grateful for the work they’ve done to support trans and non-binary folks and the community in general.
This blog post was researched and created thanks to our intern Myka Richard from the East Bay MET high school, and below, you can also find his opinion and perspective on the process. If you have any questions or feedback, don't hesitate to reach out.
From Myka, MET high school intern. What's it like to be a young person considering these doc changes?: “As an 18-year-old who can now legally start the process of changing my gender and name, I feel like there are great resources out there for me, and it makes me relieved. When thinking about this in the past, I felt lost and had no idea where to start. I now know I can go to Thundermist for assistance, and it makes me feel a sense of direction. Although unfortunately, it is such a huge process for transgender people to go through, I am glad there are people to help me through it.”
What would a name and gender marker change mean for you?: “A name and gender marker change are one of the steps I would like to take in my transition. So far, I have come out and lived my life as Myka for years, and I have gone on testosterone. Which I wouldn't have been able to do without my family's support as I was a minor. Getting my name and gender changed legally would make my transition official to me. I would never have to worry about someone seeing my dead name or knowing that I was born female if they ever saw my legal documents. It would help with discrimination and judgment from others.”
How do you feel about the processes?: “The process is complicated and takes time and money, but I am willing to do it. I wish the knowledge of these processes were more easily accessible, but I hope this blog can help.”
What would make it easier, in your opinion?: “In my opinion, I wish going to court was unnecessary for birth certificate changes. Most changes to be made can be done by filling out a form. I wish it were as easy as filling out a request form, sending it to the court, then getting it approved. That would be in a perfect world, though.”
1. Name Change
Getting a name change takes a few steps, which mostly takes patience. You will need to fill out and print this form. Then get a copy of your birth certificate, which can be obtained from https://health.ri.gov/records/ (birth certificates from other U.S. states and other countries will need to be obtained elsewhere). Then you'll need a background check (aka, a BCI check) which can be done at your local police station. This will cost about 5 dollars.
After your forms are ready, you must appear before the probate court. You can find more about probate court here.
*MAKE SURE TO GET MULTIPLE COPIES OF YOUR NAME CHANGE*
Once you've completed that process, you will need to immediately change your legal documents such as: Social Security (you can change gender and name simultaneously, only M and F options currently *this may be changing soon*), RI Driver's license/ID, car registration, US Passport, credit/debit cards, etc.
2. Gender Change on License
Getting the gender marker on your license changed is easier. Just follow the instructions on this form and submit it to the DMV.
3. Gender Change on Birth Certificate
Anyone can get their gender changed on their birth certificate, including minors (with parental consent) For your legal gender to be changed on your birth certificate, you will need a letter from a medical provider on office letterhead stating that you have undergone treatment for gender transition and a letter of your own requesting to change your gender. For more information, go to: https://www.glad.org/post/new-regulations-modernize-process-changing-gender-designation-rhode-island-birth-certificates/.
Credits to TGI for providing this information. For a more detailed Guide, go to https://www.tginetwork.org/resources/documentation-changes
If you have any trouble during your process or would like assistance, Thundermist is a great resource to check out. They have trans advocates who can help you through your name/gender change.