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Guide to Changing Your Legal Name and/or Gender in North Carolina

This guide provides an overview of steps and resources to assist individuals who wish to change their legal name and/or gender in North Carolina.

Other Considerations Following a Name and/or Gender Change

Changing your name and/or gender can affect many other aspects of your life. Not everyone who changes their name and/or gender may need to do any or all of these things, but they are useful to keep in mind.  If you have questions or concerns about these forms, instructions, commentary, the use of the forms, or your legal rights, it is strongly recommended that you speak to an attorney.

Address confidentiality: North Carolina's Address Confidentiality Program is run through the Attorney General's office. It is available to survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. More information is available on the North Carolina Attorney General's website.

Bank Account: You may need to contact your bank for information on updating your account information. There may also be a waiting period for opening a new account if you have acquired a new Social Security Number.

Car Insurance: You may need to update your name and/or gender on your car insurance; contact your provider for more information.

Credit Cards: You may need to update your information with your credit card; contact your credit card company for more information.

Health Insurance: You may need to update your name and/or gender with your health insurance; contact your provider for more information.

Internal Revenue Service and State tax authority: The IRS relies on Social Security information for processing tax returns. You can find more information here. Information about changing your name with the North Carolina Department of Revenue can be found here.

Passport: You may need to update your information on your passport. The U.S. State Department's website provides instructions on changing passport information.

Physicians: You may need to update your information with your physician. Contact their office for more information.

Post Office/Mailing Address: The USPS does not currently have an official name change form. The Change-of-Address form has an option for changing your name, or you can visit a post office location in person or call for other options.

Property: You may need to update your information on any property records. Many organizations can provide information or assistance with this. You may also need to consult an attorney.

Records: You might consider getting certified copies of school records, medical records, driver's history, criminal history, and employment records - anything that requires your old name to access.

Selective Service: After a gender change, you may need to register with the selective service or request a status information letter. More information is available at the Selective Service System website.

Voter registration: In North Carolina, you cannot change your name online; you must fill out a form and send it through the mail.

Will: You may need to draft a new will.

Credit to the LGBT Center of Raleigh for some of this information.

Additional Resources

Many organizations provide information and assistance in changing your legal name and/or gender. Selected resources include:

The National Center for Transgender Equality: The NCTE advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. In the nation’s capital and throughout the country, NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination, and violence with empathy, opportunity, and justice. Their website includes a wealth of information like self-help guides, know your rights discussions, and information about laws and regulations in all 50 states and territories.

Lambda Legal: Lambda Legal is a national nonprofit committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Their website provides more information about their work, as well as a breakdown of laws in all 50 states that protect LGBTQ communities and individuals. 

Equality NC: ENC is the oldest statewide organization in the country dedicated to securing rights and protections for the LGBTQ community. Their website provides information about their issues, partnerships, and programs, as well as contact information for regional chapters.

LGBTQ Center UNC-Chapel Hill: The LGBTQ Center works to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for UNC-Chapel Hill community members of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. Their website provides information about programs, resources, and news and events for undergrads, graduate students, and faculty and staff at UNC.

LGBTQ Center of Durham: The Center in Durham supports LGBTQ+ people through services, programming, resources, and support networks that center their well-being and allows them to thrive. Their website provides information about programs and resources for the local community.

LGBT Center of Raleigh: The Center in Raleigh advocates for LGBT individuals and communities in Raleigh, the triangle, and North Carolina more generally. Their website includes information about events, program initiatives, and resources. They have a page specifically on changing your name in Wake County, with links to a presentation and forms.

North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence: The NCCADV leads the state’s movement to end domestic violence and to enhance work with survivors through collaborations, innovative trainings, prevention, technical assistance, state policy development and legal advocacy. Their website provides information about their services for survivors of domestic violence.

Further Information

There is a wealth of information for and about transgender people, including works about legal rights and challenges, guides for transitioning, the history of transgender identities, reading lists, and more. Some selected resources include:

Books:

A Dirty South Manifesto: Sexual Resistance and Imagination in the New South, L.H. Stallings (2019). Stallings outlines and celebrates the roots of radical sexual resistance in the New South--a movement that is antiracist, decolonial, and transnational. Also available in print.

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Law in a Nutshell, Ruth Colker (2nd ed., 2022). This work gives a brief overview of LGBTQ+ legal issues.

Transgender: A Reference Handbook, ed. Aaron Devor and Ardel Haefele-Thomas (2019). This book primarily serves as a reference guide and jumping off point for further research for those seeking information about what it means to be transgender. It takes a diverse and historic approach, focusing on more than one idea or one experience of trans identity or trans history.

Transgender History, Susan Stryker (2008). Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, Transgender History takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events. The original 2008 edition can be found online through UNC libraries; the 2017 update is available in print.

Transgender Persons and the Law, Ally Windsor Howell (2015). This book is a resource for lawyers and activists engaged in transgender human and civil rights in the courts or in legislative lobbying. It covers many areas of legal concern, including identification documents, public facilities, housing, military and veterans' issues, employment, immigration, family law, and more.

Other resources:

GLAAD (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has a list of transgender resources, including FAQ, information for allies, links to other organizations that support transgender rights and communities, and other general information and resources.

Library of Congress LGBTQ+ Legal Resources Guide provides introductory information for researching many legal issues relevant to LGBTQ+ communities and individuals.

PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) has several transgender reading lists for adults, young adults, and children, as well as a coming out reading list. The lists are for both members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as family, friends, and allies.