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Caitlyn Jenner's Name and Gender Legally Changed in California Court

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By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on September 25, 2015 3:56 PM

William Bruce Jenner is a mere memory. Caitlyn Marie's time has officially come. A Los Angeles judge today approved the name and gender change for the former track star, now best known for her gender transformation and association with the Kardashian clan.

Jenner reportedly did not appear at the brief hearing, and there were no objections to the change. As of today, Caitlyn Marie Jenner can obtain a license, passport, and all official documents to reflect her new identity.

Jenner Threatened During Transition

Jenner's transition from male to female was announced during a televised interview with Diane Sawyer, and her new identity debuted on the cover of Vanity Fair this year. Her fame has brought much attention to the topic of transgender rights and many see Jenner as an important symbol in the fight for gender identity equality.

But the attention has come at some cost, and Jenner's petition with the courts was redacted based on privacy concerns. She has reportedly received threats during this public transition.

Making It Official in California

The process for a court ordered name and gender change in California, where Jenner petitioned, is as follows:

Name Change:

  • The applicant fills out forms, called a "Petition to Change Name" and submits them at the Superior Court of the county where they live, receiving a court date for about two months later.
  • In the interim, the proposed change is published in a local newspaper using a form from the courts called an "Order to Show Cause." Once the order has run in the paper for four weeks, the petitioner will receive proof of its publication from the newspaper.
  • The petitioner appears before the judge on the designated date, bringing the proof of publication. If there are no objections to the change and all the paperwork is in order, the name change request will be approved.

Gender Change

  • The legal gender change process resembles the one above for names in California. But there are some distinctions, including an important additional element. The gender change petition must be supported by a doctor's letter stating that the applicant has undergone "clinically appropriate treatment" for gender transition.
  • A gender change need not be filed in the county where the petitioner lives and also is not published in the local newspaper.
  • However, for a combined name and gender change, the petitioner must file in the county where they live and must publicize the name change.

Administrating Change

After a court makes a name and gender change official, there is still a lot of paperwork to do. Some states, like California, will issue a new birth certificate if requested. Similarly, a new US Passport reflecting the changes can be obtained, but applications must be made in person.

To find out more about the specific requirements for name and gender changes in your state and to get assistance with the administrative process, talk to a lawyer. We may not all be able to keep up with Kardashians, but seeking the advice of counsel is certainly one tip to take from Caitlyn Marie Jenner.

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