North Carolina


VIDEO: How to Complete a Name Change in NC

This video, led by attorney Dizy Walton, walks you through how to complete the name change process in North Carolina:

Trans in the South: A Guide to Resources and Services

New data from the Williams Institute shows that more than 300,000 trans folks call the South home. Too often, they face a lack of resources and support. We often hear stories of people going without medical care or traveling hours to reach a doctor who will treat them with respect. That’s got to change. 

To respond to that need, the Campaign for Southern Equality is releasing Trans in the South: A Guide to Resources and Services.

In the pages of this edition of Trans in the South you’ll find lists of trans-friendly service providers – from doctors to attorneys to counselors – across the South as well as resources to assist with funding medical transition. This information has been collected and vetted by Ivy Gibson-Hill, our LGBT Rights Toolkit Coordinator. We hope this resource guide helps people access the services they need to survive and to thrive.

You can download a PDF of Trans in the South: A Guide to Resources by clicking here.


Recently North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed HB2 into law – one of the most sweeping pieces of anti-trans legislation in our country.

HB2 makes it illegal for people to use the bathroom in line with their gender identity if that differs from the sex on their birth certificate. HB2 also targets trans and LGB* folks by making it legal for businesses to discriminate, and by restricting local governments from implementing inclusive non-discrimination policies.

If you have experienced discrimination please report that to us here or by email to Ivy[at] The ACLU of North Carolina is also a great legal resource if you’ve been discriminated against as a result of HB2.

NC Birth Certificate Policy Updated to Include Same-Sex Spouses for Female Couples

Thanks to the work of the ACLU of North Carolina and attorney Sharon Thompson, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in North Carolina has updated their policy regarding birth certificates to include the same-sex spouses of some married couples. The new policy allows the same-sex partners of married women to be listed as a parent. Important Note: Neither birth certificates nor legal marriage necessarily establish legal parentage. Read the ACLU of NC’s Frequently Asked Questions about this new policy.

Laws in your state

Laws regarding adoption, nondiscrimination protections, hate crimes reporting and much more vary from state to state. For information about the policies that affect LGBT people in your state, please see these resources from national LGBT organizations:

Human Rights Campaign’s state law maps

Lambda Legal’s state law map

For more information about state-issued documents in all 50 states, see the National Center for Transgender Equality’s ID Documents Center.

Power of Attorney

Protect your rights with estate planning tools like health care power of attorney forms. Estate planning makes clear your wishes for treatment during emergencies, at the end of your life, and beyond. For LGBT people and their families, estate planning is a tool that can be used to secure basic rights that many take for granted. If you haven’t completed these important documents, it’s important to do so as soon as possible, at any age, whether you are single or partnered.

These documents will help you protect your rights and wishes:

  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Will
  • Hospitable Visitation Form

Learn more about these tools in Life Lines, a publication of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

NC Advance Directives

Register your completed advanced directives at the NC Secretary of State Advance Health Care Directory.

North Carolina LGBT-Friendly Attorneys

Download a PDF of LGBT-Friendly Attorneys in NC

North Carolina Name & Gender Change Guidelines

NC State Map of LGBT RightsThis document is intended for informational use only, and is in no way intended to constitute legal advice or the opinions of the Campaign for Southern Equality. Because the law is constantly changing, the Campaign for Southern Equality cannot guarantee that this information is accurate and up-to-date.  Procedures may vary by county.  If you have any questions, please consult a licensed attorney.

Recent changes in North Carolina General Statute (June 2011) have made the name change process more stringent. This is the case for all individuals seeking name changes, not just LGBT people. Below are the steps individuals must take to change their name in North Carolina. This process results in a legal name change. Additionally, a new birth certificate will be issued with your new legal name.

What You Need:

  • Name Change Petition
  • Notice of Intent to Change Name
  • Two Affidavits of Good Character
  • Two sets of fingerprints
  • Two background checks

Some counties might also require a recently certified birth certificate, photo ID, and a Title search performed by an attorney. It is important to note that, if you prefer, you can hire an attorney to assist you through this entire process.

Total estimated cost: Approximately $200 plus attorney fees

Steps: To change your name in North Carolina, there are several things that you will need to do that take some time and planning. Below, we’ve organized the steps in a way that will hopefully help you save time and frustration.

  • Request a Name Change Petition at your county courthouse. In many counties, you will find this form in the Special Proceedings Division. Fee – approximately $5.
  • You must complete two background checks – State and FBI. These requests take 8-10 weeks to process and require that you get two sets of finger prints. You can have your finger prints taken at the county detention center  (fee – approximately $10 each). Click on the links for directions on how to request background checks. FBI background checks cost $18 (money order or cashier’s check) and the state of North Carolina background check costs $14 (money order or certified check). Once the background checks are complete you can proceed to the next step.
  • Identify two people who live in your county of residence to fill out Affidavits of Good Character. These individuals cannot be related to you and must be over the age of 18. These affidavits will need to be notarized. Your local bank is a good place to access a Notary Public. There may be a small fee associated with this service.
  • North Carolina General Statute requires that you post a Notice of Intent to change your name at the courthouse. The Notice must be posted 10 days prior to filling the petition. It will also need to be time stamped by the Clerk of Courts Office before and after posting.
  • After 10 days, file your Petition with the background checks, Affidavits of Good Character, and a pink Vital Records form. Some counties require additional pieces of information be filed with the Petition (see below). On the Petition, you will be required to provide your true name, county of birth, date of birth, the full names of your parents (as shown on your birth certificate), the name you wish to adopt, your reasons for changing your name, and whether your name has ever been legally changed before (if so, you must provide the facts of your previous name change). You can only change your name one time using the NC name change statute, this does not include changes made in other states or assuming a married name or resuming a maiden name. You will also be required to make a sworn statement that you live in the county where you are filing the Petition and whether or not you have an outstanding tax or child support obligation. NOTE: The reason you provide for requesting a name change is part of the public record. Filing fee: approximately $120.
  • The Clerk of Court will review your application and make a determination as to whether a hearing is required. If so, you will be required to appear before the Clerk of Court.
  • Decision is made. Applicants are often notified by phone. Make sure to receive both a copy of the pink order and the Clerk’s written court order.

As mentioned above, some counties require that you submit additional items with your Petition. These often include the following:

  • A recent certified birth certificate. You must obtain this from North Carolina Vital Records. The waiting period for this is approximately 12 weeks. For a fee of $15, the request can be expedited (2 week wait). You can also go to the Register of Deeds Office in the county of your birth and request a certified copy of your birth certificate.
  • Title search. This requires that you meet with an attorney. The Title search must include a judgement and civil action check. There will be a fee associated with this service.
  • Attach these additional pieces of information to the Petition.*

Don’t Forget: Once your name change has been approved, you will need to update your information with several government agencies. This includes changing your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV requires that you notify them of a name change within 60 days. However, you must change your information with the SSA before you can change your information with the DMV. You must also provide the DMV with “documented proof from the courts or the Register of Deeds establishing that the name change was officially accomplished.”
*Some cases might require additional documentation. For example, if they were previously married and had changed their name when married, they will need to present a copy of the divorce judgment to the Clerk. Another example is if one was discharged from the military for being LGBTQ. In such a situation, it is often the case that they will have a Federal record when the FBI check comes back. If so, they need to give the Clerk a copy of their DD-214, confirming their reason for discharge. For more complicated matters such as these, it would be best to seek assistance from a lawyer in your area.

Report violence, discrimination, and harassment against LGBTQ people

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Trans in the South Resource Guide

In the pages of this edition of Trans in the South you’ll find lists of trans-friendly service providers – from doctors to attorneys to counselors – across the South as well as resources to assist with funding medical transition.

You can download a PDF of Trans in the South: A Guide to Resources by clicking here.

From the CSE Blog:

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