Legal name and gender change in India for LGBTQ+ persons

How to legally change your gender/name?

Changed your gender/name but that ID card still has the same old details? How can you change your name and gender legally? Let’s help you find out.

Identity Documents (IDs) are essential for having an access to your rights and benefits executed by the central and the state governments of India.

At present, there are two options for legal name and gender change in India. First is the still-active old gazette method linked here that involves getting a notarized affidavit, publishing newspaper advertisements, and finally notifying the national/state gazette.

The second method is specified under the relatively new Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and its rules made effective from 25th September 2020. It outlines the legal procedure for name and gender change in India.

The procedure is as follows:

1. Apply for a Transgender ID card with your District Magistrate (DM). It can be done in person or filed online.

2. Apply for a Revised Certificate of identity for change of gender as binary male or female (if you want) after "medical intervention towards a gender-affirming procedure"  as mentioned in point 6 of the rules.

You can directly apply for the Revised Certificate even without the Transgender ID card through a combined form available at the National Portal for Transgender Persons.

3. Use the Transgender ID card to change your name, photograph and gender on legal documents like— the Aadhaar card, Pan card, passport, etc. as prescribed in the rules.

The process of getting your Transgender ID card and Revised certificate of identity for a change of gender whether offline or online is explained properly in this write-up.

How to change the name and gender on official documents?

1. Voter ID

A proof of identity for Indian citizens to vote in local, state and national elections.

Changing Voter ID Details

To update your name and gender you identify with, fill in and submit Form-8 (Application for correction to particulars entered in electoral roll). Simply tick against the appropriate box in part (e) and write the correct information in the given space. Carry a copy of your Transgender ID card or/and a copy of your changed name in the Central/State gazette. You can submit this form either online (at National Voter’s Service Portal), or submit it in-person or post it to the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO)/ Assistant Electoral Registration Officer (AERO) at your voter centre.

The election officials may ask you for proof of gender identity, but they cannot subject you to any form of harassment or gender verification on the spot. If you face any harassment or discrimination, you should complain to the election authorities. If these authorities do not respond, take help from lawyers, NGOs, etc. to file a complaint with the police.

New Voter ID

Fill out Form-6 (Application for inclusion of name in electoral roll). You can choose ‘male’, ‘female’, or ‘third gender’ on this form. Refer to this link to apply for a new Voter ID.

2. Aadhaar Card

Aadhar is required for benefits under many government schemes and programmes. It is a unique 12-digit identification number issued by the government of India and serves as a proof of identity and address across the country.

Changing Aadhaar Card Details

You can change your name and gender online via the UIDAI Portal or in person at your nearest enrolment centre (check online). For a change in name, you will need to upload the Transgender ID Card by selecting the "Legal name change certificate" option as a supporting document on the Aadhaar Form. For a change in gender marker and appearance, no supporting document is required.

You will be charged Rs 50 for each update on the UIDAI portal. It is to be noted that an update of more than one field at a time is considered one update only. For more information, read this.

Aadhar is found to be one of the easiest IDs to change one's gender on. This relative ease makes it easier to make changes in many other documents.

New Aadhaar Card

A new Aadhaar Card would require you to go in person to an Aadhaar Enrolment Centre, and cannot be done online. The process is completely free-of-cost.

Along with the completed enrolment form, you will need to submit one copy each of proof of identity (with photo), address, and date of birth. As per the rules, officials are not required to verify your gender, and you can enter the gender you identify with, regardless of what your other identity documents say.

3. PAN Card

A Permanent Account Number (PAN) is required to file taxes and is also identity proof. It is issued by the Income Tax Department

Update PAN Card Details

Once you have your Aadhaar (either updated or new), you can opt for e-KYC and select this paperless PAN Card Update Process.

New PAN Card

The category of transgender is introduced by the Government of India in PAN card application Forms. It is explained in detail here

4. Passport

The passport is issued to Indian citizens for international travel. It is also one of the fundamental proof recognised around the world for identity, residence and age.

New/Updating Passport

The procedure in place for a new Passport or updating is the same in India. Explained well in this article.

It is difficult to get a gender marker change to binary trans-male or trans-female without a gender-affirming surgery certificate even after the NALSA Judgement that gives one the right to identify with any gender without surgery or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

Read the story of this petitioner for more knowledge.

It is reported that some transgender persons face harassment by the police when they come to the location of the applicant for verification. You can file a complaint against such illegal steps and also insist that the police conduct their verification during the daytime.

Part 2 will discuss the procedures for legal name and gender marker changes on Educational (School/College) Certificates for LGBTQ+ in India.

Have questions? Please ask Love Matters (LM) experts on our discussion forum. Don't forget to check out our Facebook page.

Love Matters India is an online platform that provides reliable, science-based and fact-based information on love, sex and relationships. Please explore more stories here. For facts related to sex, check this section.

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