License to Be Yourself

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When trans people’s passports, driver licenses, and national ID cards, do not reflect their gender identity, it can exclude them from fundamental aspects of daily life—like receiving health care, schooling, housing, or a bank account. And it can prevent trans people from exercising basic liberties like the right to vote or freedom of movement.

The vast majority of trans people around the world cannot obtain official documents under their appropriate name and sex that match their gender identity. Where this is possible, trans people often face highly restrictive laws or regulations for changing name and sex that violate human rights obligations. These restrictions may involve excluding trans people who are married or have children, or require compulsory medical diagnoses or proceedures, including those that result in sterilization.

License to Be Yourself documents some of the world’s most progressive and rights-based laws and policies that enable trans people to change their gender identity on official documents. It shares strategies that activists have successfully used in a variety of global and legal contexts, and features case studies from Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Ukraine, and the United States.

This report is a resource for activists working on human rights issues for trans people, local communities examining best laws and policies, and policymakers seeking to uphold the rights of trans people.