In California, if you've changed your gender and/or name, you have the right to change your school records retroactively.
If I change my gender and/or name, can I retroactively change my school records?
Yes. California law AB 711, which took effect in 2020, affirms that former students of public K-12 schools have the right to update their name and gender information on official school records.
What school records can I update?
You have the right to update all of your school records, including transcripts, diplomas, equivalency certificates, and similar documents. The district is not required to update records you do not request.
Where do I send my request?
Send requests directly to the school district — check with the district to get the specific contact information. For example, if you were previously a student in a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school, you would email email@example.com.
What should the request include?
The written request should include:
- The information you would like updated (name, gender, or both).
- The specific records you want updated.
- The email and/or mailing address where you would like the updated records sent.
- An identification document showing your updated name and/or gender.
What document should I send to show my updated name and/or gender?
Include a government-issued I.D. that shows the updated information. The school district must accept any one of the following:
- State issued-driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Court order that reflects your updated legal name and/or gender.
What if I don’t have one of the government-issued IDs listed above?
According to AB 711, other forms of government-IDs not listed above may also be accepted. For example, if you have an updated state-issued “non-driver” ID card, school districts may accept it.
If you are unable to submit a copy of any government-issued updated ID, you can instead submit a written request to correct school records under Education Code section 49070 to your school district via the process outlined below.
How can I change my name and/or gender on a government-issued ID?
In California, you can now specify your own gender on driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and other state-issued documents, and you no longer need a doctor’s approval for this. You can select a male (M), female (F), or nonbinary (X) gender marker on these California ID documents.
To change your name on government-issued ID, you will need to get a name change order from a court. You can learn more at:
- Transgender Law Center Fact Sheet: California's Gender Recognition Act (SB 179)
- California DMV
- California Courts
Many communities also have free legal clinics and/or self-help centers in courthouses where transgender people can get assistance with name and gender marker changes.
Can I have my school records updated if I am currently a student?
California Education Code section 49070 authorizes the parent or guardian of a student “to challenge the content of a [student] record by filing a written request with the superintendent of the school district.” Requests should include the specific information that requires correction (name, gender, or both) and a statement that the current records are one or more of the following:
- In violation of the privacy or other rights of the student.
Example: [STUDENT’S NAME]’s school records contain inaccurate and misleading information in violation of their privacy and other rights. I request that [STUDENT’S NAME]’s [SCHOOL RECORDS] be updated to reflect their name as [NAME] and/or their gender as [GENDER].
Once the written request to correct school records is received, the superintendent has 30 days to approve or deny it. If the request is denied, the decision can be appealed to the school board, which must within 30 days hold a private session with the person making the request.
Also, if you are a current student you have the right to request that your school use the name and gender pronouns that honor your identity at school and on all unofficial school documents — including nametags, school emails, yearbooks, virtual learning profiles, etc. — without requiring parent or guardian permission, or legal or medical documentation.
What if my school district refuses to provide me with updated records?
Whether you are a current or former student, you can contact us at the ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California, or ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. You can also file a Uniform Complaint Procedure complaint.
For more on your rights as a student in California, visit MySchoolMyRights.com.