National Center for Transgender Equality (transequality.org)
- ID Documents Center | Illinois
Human Rights Campaign (hrc.org)
Williams Institute (williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu)
Transgender surgery options in Illinois
World Professional Association of Transgender Health (wpath.org)
- Member search: Illinois
Planned Parenthood (plannedparenthood.org)
- Aurora Health Center
- Fairview Heights Health Center (Belleville)
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Peoria Transgender Society – PTGS (peoriatransgendersociety.com)
Illinois allows for women in our community to change their names before they have sex reassignment surgery.
However, Illinois has passed legislation requiring surgery be performed by a surgeon licensed in the United States in order to change documentation. See below.
1. Start the process
Call your county government offices to find out where you need to go. If you live in the city of Chicago or Cook County, you can go to Room 802 of the Daley Center in the Loop (on the south side of Randolph between Clark and Dearborn Streets).
Plan ahead! If you have a target date for going full-time, you should find out how long it will take to get a court date. For instance, the earliest I could get a court date was over seven weeks from the date I registered.
2. Take care of pre-hearing requirements
In Illinois, you are required to publish a legal notice of your name change daily for 3 consecutive weeks prior to your court date. The chancery office where you go probably will refer you to a publication in which you can run your notice. At the Cook County Chancery Office, the Daily Law Bulletin table is right next to the Chancery counter.
In Illinois, if you use the Daily Law Bulletin, publication of legal notice costs $85.00, payable in advance by cash, personal check, or credit card. You also have the option of publishing elsewhere (such as local papers if the circulation meets certain requirements).
I was also given three copies of my petition to fill out, which asked for old and new names, address, length of Illinois residency, and place of birth. On the back of each was an affidavit which had to be signed by a friend acquainted with me who knew my birth name. This had to be filled out in the presence of a notary public and notarized.
3. Show up on your assigned court date.
I had the option of coming in at 9:30 am or 1:30 pm. If you have an option, I’d recommend doing it as early as possible so you can spend the rest of the day getting the ball rolling on other name change applications.
What you will need to do will vary by state. Here’s what I had to do on my court date:
A. I picked up my certificate of publication. My notice read as follows:
State of Illinois, County of Cook, ss. — Circuit Court of Cook County. Public notice is hereby given that on [ date], a Petition will be filed in said Court, in the Chancery Division, Room 802, Richard J. Daley Center, praying for the change of my name from [my old name], to that of [my new name], pursuant to the statute in such case made and provided.
[Dated], Chicago, Illinois
[my male name]
B. Hand info to the clerk cashier
I presented proof of publication, my completed and notarized petitions, and my Circuit Court filing fee $220.00 (payable only by cash, certified check, or money order) to the cashier. She stamped them all with the time and date, then went to a computer to assign me a judge and room. They handed me a printout with the courtroom and judge’s name.
I went up to the courtroom and waited for my case to be called. The judge only had two cases that afternoon, but the first one took almost two hours. I was not expecting this– it was these three lawyers quibbling about technicalities in a class-action suit where an orange juice company was caught using waste water to make their juice. Mmmm.
Not unlike that other annoying case involving O.J., the trial had dragged on interminably. Eight years, in this case, and I could see why. Finally, they got done, and it was my turn.
C. I appeared before the judge and had him sign my petition.
When I went up, the three idiot lawyers were standing in the back arguing about something, and the judge yelled at them for disrupting his courtroom while in session and told them to take it outside. They grabbed their junk and scurried out like the vermin they are.
He called me to the bench by saying “Miss?” and kept calling me “Miss” throughout the proceeding. I suppose this was better than some alternatives, but I would have preferred something a bit less diminutive. I chalked it up to our differences in age. He was very respectful and businesslike, though.
I was actually glad he kicked the lawyers out. That meant it was just me, the bailiff, the stenographer, and the judge in the courtroom. There was an audible sound from the bailiff when the judge called my case by my male name. I was paying too close attention to what the judge was saying to see the bailiff’s reaction, but it seemed like a gasp of surprise.
My part took only 5 minutes or so. The judge had not had any other TS cases before, so he had a few questions. I explained a bit about RLT prior to SRS and that I needed to switch over my financial and legal records to do so. He swore me in and asked several questions about whether I had any criminal record or had declared bankruptcy in the last 10 years. He asked if I was doing this for any fraudulent purposes. I was happy to answer no to all those questions.
He signed my petition, handed it to me, stood and shook my hand and said, “Good luck to you, Miss.”
That was it. Had I not had my time wasted by the orange juice morons, the whole thing would have taken about 5 minutes.
4. Get any certified copies you will need
I returned to the chancery office to get certified copies of the signed judgment for $6 each. I got half a dozen just in case, but I probably won’t need half that many. You’ll need to send certified copies to some financial institutions and government agencies, which will NOT accept photocopies or notarized copies.
The whole process took me about three hours over seven weeks and cost $341.00. Your results may vary.
Great step-by-step info:
Other good sites on procedures:
http://www.law.siu.edu/selfhelp/info/family/namchsup.pdf (PDF file: requires reader)
Illinois state law
For a complete understanding of the law see Chapter 735 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Section 5/21-101 et seq. or consult an attorney.
Please note that some states are now requiring those who have reassignment procedures outside the country to have these procedures confirmed by US physician. For example, here is the revised 2005 Illinois requirement:
In Illinois the surgeon who performed the surgery is the only one who can fill out the affidavit and must be licensed in the U.S.
Some have suggested that if you have the procedures done outside the country, you might try having an exam by a US physician who will give you a notarized letter confirming the procedures have been completed. It is not clear if this workaround will work, though. Non-US surgeons like Pierre Brassard have gotten licensed in the US in response.
TYRA – Trans Youth Resource and Advocacy
A group for transgender and questioning youth to hang out, gain support from peers, and to get informed.
Meets Wednesdays 6:00-8:00pm @ 3179 N. Broadway Youth Center
Contact: Casey Schwartz 773-935-3151 X2 firstname.lastname@example.org
Broadway Youth Center,
3179 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657
BYC Services Brochure (attached):
Dr. Rob Garofalo:
Howard Brown Health Center,
4025 N. Sheridand Road, Chicago, IL 60613