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 you’ve changed your 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 you have your new social security card, you can update your name with your bank, insurance, and employer. For people assigned male at birth, you are still required to register for Selective Service and must change your 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 your gender marker on your passport. For your birth certificate, it depends upon the state where you were born. For your driver’s license it depends upon the state where you reside. 

Learn more about Changing your name on identity documents

Legal Protections

Legal protections depend upon your 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

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