Gender Markers in Kentucky – A How-To

Gender Markers in Kentucky – A How-To

So, yesterday, I was able to get a new Kentucky driver’s license, with the correct gender marker! Very exciting stuff. As this has been a subject of debate and mystery for some time on various forums, mailing lists and other venues, I thought I would write a how-to. I was not the first to try this and succeed, so credit due to some other enterprising trans person for doing all the initial legwork.

For me, this is what worked.


Ok, some of this might not pertain to you. Maybe you’re keeping your old name. If not, skip ahead. Additionally, if you’ve been in transition for a while and your doctor will write the letter for you now, you can combine a lot of this. That wasn’t feasible for me, so I’ve broken it down in two parts.

In Jefferson and Fayette counties, you do not need to appear in front of a judge to do this. You don’t need a lawyer. It’s not too bad in terms of cost. Here’s what I know works.

First, head down to the probate department, it’s on the 3rd floor of the Hall of Justice on 6th and Jefferson.  They will put you at a computer and have you fill in the blanks on a couple of forms. The cost is $43 to them, which can be paid via credit/debit/check (not sure on cash), you’ll also want to factor in another 5-10 dollars for certified and attested copies. You’ll also need a $8 fee to the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office, this must be check or money order. You’ll swear to the deputy that you’re not a fugitive from the law and some other stuff.

It took almost exactly a month for me to get my order back from the court. They’ll mail you the forms back. Once you have the forms, you will take one of the certified copies to the Social Security Office and update your name with them. You’ll need to wait 24 hours for their system to update. Trust me, I tried.

The next business day, go to the circuit court clerk and get a new driver’s license with your new name.  Achievement unlocked!

So for me, this is where the story stopped for about 6 months. I changed my name just around the same time I had started hormones. I had talked about getting a passport and honestly it just wasn’t a priority. I did ask my endocrinologist to fill out the letter that I copied and pasted from the state department website back in July. Once I had it, it sat in the center console of my truck for months until I traded the truck in… and was forced to clean it out. About a week after I sold the truck, I decided to suck it up and get it done.


Name change is somewhat straightforward. The gender marker change is kind of convoluted. However, unless you have had surgery and can update your birth certificate, this is the best thing I can tell you at this time.

First, Go to the state department website, copy and paste the letter from there to your doctor. Have your doctor fill in the blanks, print and sign on their letterhead. Here’s what it looks like:

(Attending Physician’s Official Letterhead)

I, (physician’s full name), (physician’s medical license or certificate number), (issuing State of medical license/certificate), am the attending physician of (name of patient), with whom I have a doctor/patient relationship.

(Name of patient) has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to the new gender (specify new gender male or female).

Signature of Physician

Typed Name of Physician


Take that, along with your name change court order and all the other normal stuff you need to get passport down to the post office (call ahead, make sure they can see you. I had to call 3 different branches before I could find one that would see me same day) and apply for a passport. Make sure you select your correct gender designation on the application. It’s easier if you fill out the application on the computer and print it out and take it with you. I was told 4-6 weeks. In reality, it was exactly 4 weeks.

Once you have the new passport, I went back to the social security office and requested to update my gender marker. I provided my passport and the clerk was polite and quickly had it updated. I applied the same logic to this as the name change. I waited 24 hours before I went back to the circuit court clerk office.  The morning of, I had called Frankfort and checked to make sure they weren’t going to shoot me down. They wanted to know if I had the documentation from my surgeon. I advised that I did not have that, but I had already updated my passport and my social security account.  They advised that if I had a passport, to take it to the branch and that’s all I needed.

When I got there, I had issues with the clerk but I since had spoken to Frankfort prior to going in, I knew I was right. I was polite but firm and insistent. She called her boss, her boss confirmed I was correct. Based on what I’ve overheard, both the Bowman Field and now the Outer Loop offices have done these. All that’s left at this point is to pay them their $12 and smile your best smile ever for the camera.

Questions? Let me know!



3 thoughts on “Gender Markers in Kentucky – A How-To

  1. I’m about to make this phone call re: my gender marker. What exactly was asked/said during the call to bring about the result you sought?

    1. Unfortunately, I believe that this might not work at this time. It appears that Beshear or someone on his staff had produced a memo that the department of driver’s licensing was using to justify marker changes without a surgical declaration letter. About the time that Bevin took office, that memo doesn’t appear to be there any longer. A friend of mine attempted this in Dec or Jan and was unsuccessful. The rep went so far as to tell her that I should come back and have mine “corrected.”

      In any event, it was a fairly simple call, I just said that I was looking for information on how to change my gender marker on my DL. She asked if I had a letter from my surgeon and I said no, but that I had my passport with correct gender and that SSA was updated as well. Her reply was along the lines of “Oh, well if you have your passport, just take it to the branch and they will update it.”

      I had to fight with the lady at the branch and she only changed it, begrudgingly, after calling her boss. YMMV. That was at the Highview office on Outer Loop.

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