While few US states provide legal protections for transgender individuals, and no protections exist at the Federal level, it is still possible for transgender folk to take advantage of the many legal options they have to advance their transition.

Changing Identity Documents

Legal Name Changes

Laws vary by state. Once your loved one has changed their name at the state level, it’s fairly easy to change it at the Federal level by simply changing it with the Social Security Administration. Once they have their new social security card, they can update your name with their bank, insurance, school, and employer. People assigned male at birth (and age 18-26) are still required to register for Selective Service and must change their name with them as well.

Learn more about Changing your name on identity documents

Gender Marker Changes

The State Department has liberal guidelines for changing their gender marker on their passport. For their birth certificate, it depends upon the state where they were born. For their driver’s license it depends upon the state where they reside. 

Learn more about Changing your name on identity documents

Legal Protections

Legal protections depend upon the state and/or the company you work for or lease from. There are currently very few Federal protections against gender identity/expression-based discrimination.

Learn more about: State-specific protections, Your legal rights

Anti-Transgender Bathroom Laws

Your loved one should be able to use any restroom which affirms their gender identity. However, in North Carolina, people are required to use the restroom which corresponds with their birth certificate sex. Additionally, some school systems and private businesses may also hold similar discriminatory policies. Your loved one should never show their identification or answer questions about their gender if asked by any person other than police. If any non-police officer tries to forcibly remove them, then you should warn them that if they do not remove their hands from them, then you will file assault charges. Find out more tips here.

Legal Aid

Several organizations provide free legal aid to transgender individuals. Learn more on their websites: