American Samoa’s rich fa’afafine tradition allows some flexibility for gender identity and expression, but many laws do not have the same flexibility.
The highest legal authority is the High Court. Its Chief Justice is appointed by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. In some cases, federal matters are taken up in the District Courts in Hawai’i or the District of Columbia.
Those who want a name change must petition the Court directly for a hearing. They will have several requirements you need to fulfill before your court date:
- current legal name
- proposed new name
- place of birth
- current residence
- reason for name change
- proof you notified relatives
- proof you published a notice
American Samoa Government (americansamoa.gov)
- Judiciary of American Samoa governs name changes and potential birth certificate changes.
- They are located in the Executive Office Building in Pago Pago
If you get a good judge and have everything in order when you petition for a birth certificate amendment, you may be able to change name and gender marker.
- Office of Vital Statistics (OVS)
- American Samoa Government
- Department of Homeland Security
- Office of Vital Statistics
- PO Box 6894
- Pago Pago, AS 96799
- If there are any questions or requests for additional assistance, please contact the ASDHS Office of Vital Statistics at 684-633-1405/1406, or via email vital email@example.com
Samoa Faafafine Association Incorporated (fb.me/sfainc)
- samoafaafafine [at] gmail [dot] com
- Sosaiete O Fa’afaine i Amerika Samoa
American Samoa Bar Association (asbar.org)
- A lawyer from this group may be able to assist you.
- Some Samoans have had success ordering current vital records like birth certificates from this firm.
United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA) (utopiaseattle.org)
- Continental US group with locations in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. May be able to help with local issues.