whats the rules on gender identity and immigration?

Ok a friend of mine was born male and under went most of the transition and identifies as female and wants to move to the states (specifically California) from the Philippines

But she wants a brand new start as a female and wants to use her female name and be legally known as female does she have wait until she comes in or can she do it before hand ?

Does she have any other citizenships or only Philippino? Unfortunately the Philippines doesn’t allow transgender people to change their legal sex, so there is no way your friend could arrive in the US already as legally female.

After that it gets complicated it seems. California does allow transgender people to change their sex on their birth certificate, but in this case your friend would not have a US birth certificate to be changed. Her Philippino passport would still say male and I am guessing that would be an impediment for any legal gender change in the US. Since the Philippines won’t provide a new passport saying female… catch 22.

I’m guessing one of our other regular posters might know if there is any way for an immigrant to change gender when their home country won’t acknowledge the new gender. But also I think these people would know:

The situation is complicated. There was a pathway to this under the Obama administration, whereby a transgender person could be admitted to the US with their proper gender identity on immigration documents, although the birth certificate gender was recorded and used throughout. But for the purpose of communications etc. they would be referred to by their proper gender identity. Also on their green card/visa (although there are always records of the original gender identity and name, and a clueless/rude immigration person might choose to use those).

If your friend becomes a citizen of the US then currently they can get a US Passport with their proper gender marker and name regardless of what their original birth certificate says (I did it myself). They will need a surgeon’s/doctor’s letter stating they have transitioned, but the wording is so vague that full surgery isn’t actually mandatory. They will likely be able to get a California driver’s license/ID card with their proper gender marker and name despite their birth certificate (I know many who have done it), unless there is some special rule/law about people who are green card/permanent resident holders.

Social Security currently will allow the correct gender marker to be on records as well, with similar requirements as the passport change.

Note that I’m saying *currently." There are several somewhat valid rumors that Pence and others in the Trump Administration want to end the “transgender loophole” for Passport and Social Security issuance. Under the guide of “homeland security”.

Note that I am not an immigration attorney and there could be all sorts of nuances and exceptions that your friend may fall under.

ok thanks