Gender Affirming Documents

Illinois Family Law Attorney

For many transgender and gender-nonconforming people, something most of us take for granted – showing identification such as a driver’s license or passport when asked – can cause all sorts of problems.  When the gender on their ID does not match their current appearance, it can lead to suspicious looks, being denied entry and missing flights, or even becoming targets for humiliation, hostility or violence.

Illinois is one of about half the states in the U.S. that allow transgender people to change the gender on their driver’s license or state identification card with a letter from a health care provider. Still, many people feel that, under the Trump administration, the country is unfriendly toward the LGBT community in general.  As a result, it may become more difficult to obtain gender-affirming documentation for transgender individuals at both the state and federal levels.

The seasoned and compassionate Illinois transgender rights attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand what you are going through.  We offer aggressive representation for LGBT people facing problems such as obtaining gender affirming documents and dealing with harassment. We know the law, the courts, the judges, and how to work within the system. We have been successful helping other people in your situation and will do everything possible to vigorously defend your rights, including obtaining forms of ID that accurately represent you.

We offer a free initial consultation, so get help today by calling 630-305-0222.

Getting Documents in Illinois

The following are the Illinois laws regarding various documents that can be used for identification:

Changing a Name

To legally change your name in Illinois, you must submit a petition to the court that is verified “by the affidavit of some credible person.” Then, unless the name change is for witness protection purposes, you must publish notice of the petition in the newspaper for three consecutive weeks, starting at least six weeks before your hearing. If you have a felony conviction within the last ten years or are a registered sex offender, you are not permitted to change your name.

Driver’s License

To change your name and/or gender on an Illinois driver’s license or ID, you must go to a Secretary of State facility to turn in your current license. You must submit acceptable identification for proof of identity, and also:

(1) If you wish a name change — a document such as a court order demonstrating the name change

(2) If you wish a gender marker change — any of the following documents:

  • Court Order reflecting the change in gender
  • Medical Report Form
  • Psychiatric Report Form
  • Physician’s statement
  • Other acceptable documentation to indicate that a change has taken place or that you are in the process of undergoing the gender change.

Also, you must notify the Illinois Secretary of State of a legal name change within 10 days of the name change here.

Birth Certificate

You may obtain a new birth certificate from the Illinois Division of Vital Records by providing a physician’s statement that says the physician “has performed an operation on a person, and that by reason of the operation the sex designation on such person’s birth record should be changed. The State Registrar may then make an investigation or require further information if necessary.” 410 ILCS 535/17.


Passports don’t require proof of surgery to change gender marker, so they are often easier to obtain than state identification. The federal Department of State allows transgender people to receive a new passport and certificate of foreign birth that reflects their gender. The policy since 2011 is that individuals wishing to change their gender marker on a passport show a document from a physician stating that they have undergone a “medically appropriate” procedure to change genders.

The Gender Laws in Illinois

A crime based on gender identity is considered to be a hate crime under both state and federal law. Public Act 99-0077, an enhanced Hate Crimes statute, became effective January 1, 2016, and expressly protects gender identity for the first time. The passage amends the Criminal Code of 2012 and the Unified Code of Corrections by moving away from the meaning of “sexual orientation” referring to only heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality.  It now uses the language used in the Illinois Humans Rights Act, which includes gender identity and protects individuals based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation. In addition, the federal Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act specifically includes gender identity as a covered category.

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation

If you believe you are a victim of gender identity-motivated discrimination or harassment, it pays to get legal advice as to your rights.  The seasoned and compassionate Illinois attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. know the courts and the system and can assist you with legal transgender issues, including filing a discrimination claim with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

We are aggressive litigators and will work with you to fully understand the facts surrounding your case and find solutions to your gender issues.  We represent transgender and LGBT clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, and the greater Chicagoland area.

Don’t delay — call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]