Transgender Inclusion & Protection

The desire to live authentically and in an environment free from discrimination is one most certainly shared by all members of the LGBT family, yet the reality of doing so greatly varies among us. For the Transgender community this is most certainly true. For many Transgender individuals, authenticity requires the ability to self-determine one’s own gender identity and expression in order to live fully with dignity and respect. This fact sheet is to serve as a resource to the Transgender community in order to provide guidance through the process of changing their identification documents while also providing information on other central issues in healthcare, restroom access, and the workplace. Do you know your rights?          

Click here to download the fact sheet.


With Election Day fast approaching, we want to make sure that you know your rights when it come to voting while trans.   You can also download your own checklist and information for poll officials by clicking the images below.


Before Election Day

  • Go to to register to vote, check your voter registration status, or update your voter information if needed.
  • In order to vote in South Carolina, you will need one of the following forms of I.D.
    • S.C. Driver's License
    • ID Card issued by S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
    • S.C. Voter Registration Card with Photo (Can be obtained for free from your county voter registration and elections office by providing name, DOB, and the last 4 digits of your SSN.)
    • Federal Military ID
    • U.S. Passport
    • Make sure your I.D. matches the name and address on your voter registration at election time. The law does not require your gender presentation match your name, photo, or gender marker.
  • In South Carolina, you can vote absentee under certain conditions. Call your county voter registration and elections office or visit for more information.

On Election Day

  • Bring your required photo I.D.
  • It is also helpful, but not necessary to bring the following in case you are questioned
    • Your voter registration card
    • A utility bill showing your address
    • Additional I.D. or records that show who you are, or
    • Your legal name change paperwork if you had one
  • If you are told you cannot vote on Election Day, call the National Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687- 8683) for help.
  • If you cast a provisional ballot the National Election Protection Hotline can help you make sure your ballot is counted.


Information for Poll Workers and Election Officials

This resource was created and distributed by TransAction, a program of South Carolina Equality, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, dedicated to the advancement of transgender people through education, advocacy, and engagement. The voter you are talking to is transgender. Here is some information that may be helpful to your job of ensuring a fair election:

·     Gender discrepancies on ID are not a valid reason to deny a regular ballot. Transgender voters may have ID that indicates a different gender than what they look like. They may not have had the opportunity to update their ID yet, or may not be able to. In fact, some transgender people have Ids that do not match each other due to different policies about updating gender and name on Ids. This does not mean their ID is invalid or fraudulent for voting purposes.

·     Different clothing and hairstyle on an ID photo is not a valid reason to deny a regular ballot. Voters may look different today than on their photo ID for a lot of reasons-they may even look like a different gender. As long as you can identify the voter from their picture, this is not a problem.

·     “Cross-dressing” is not a valid reason to deny a regular ballot. A voter who appears to you to be cross-dressing may in fact be simply dressing in accordance with their gender identity. They have the right to do so, and the way they are dressed should not impact their ability to cast a ballot.

·     A voter’s transgender status and medical history is private. Although you may be curious or confused about a voter’s appearance, asking personal questions may be offensive and discouraging to voters, and is not relevant to their right to vote.

·     Transgender Voters are not trying to do anything wrong-they are just being themselves. Although this may be a new situation for you, this is their life every day and they are just here to vote. Please help them do so.


For more information about voting rights, please contact your county election supervisor.


Identification Documents

What is the process for changing my identification documents to reflect my true identity?

Court Process for Name Change

Federal Documentation

  • Social Security Information (Legal Gender Change)
    • As of June 2013, the Social Security Administration implemented a policy which allows for a transgender person to change their gender on their Social Security records by submitting either government-issued documentation reflecting a change, or a certification from a physician confirming that they have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. This policy no longer requires that an individual have gender reassignment surgery to change their documentation.
    • For more about this process, please see the National Center for Transgender Equality’s detailed guide regarding the specifics of this change.
  • Passport (Legal Gender Change)
    • Similar to the Social Security Administration, the US State Department no longer requires that an individual undergo Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) in order to have their gender marker changed on their passport.  
    • Understanding the New Passport Gender Change Policy

State Documentation

PLEASE NOTE:  South Carolina Equality has received conflicting information in regards to this issue. A court order may be needed in order to make this change. According, obtaining a court order may require an additional statement from a physician indicating treatment has been completed. As with any information provided in this fact sheet, it is important to consult a lawyer for legal advice regarding your particular situation.   

  • Driver’s License (Legal Gender Change)
    • South Carolina - “The general accepted method to change one’s gender is to present medical documentation that gender has been changed and a court order to the local DMV.”
    • Driver’s License Policies by State

PLEASE NOTE:  The South Carolina DMV have indicated to South Carolina Equality staff that medical documentation alone is insufficient to make the change. In order to issue an amended driver’s license, a court order or updated birth certificate are required. Please see above for more information on obtaining an updated birth certificate.  

See Lambda Legal’s Transgender Resource Guide and Resources for Changing Your Documents for Additional Information   


Can a potential employer in South Carolina refuse to hire me because of my sexual orientation or gender identity? Can my current employer fire me or deny me a promotion on the basis of my sexual orientation or gender identity?

Title VII (Federal)

For Additional Information Regarding Non-Discrimination in the Workplace, Housing, and Public Accommodations please See South Carolina Equality’s Non-Discrimination Fact Sheet

Additional Lambda Legal Transgender Workplace Resource


Does my insurance policy cover transition-related care? What are my rights in regards to health provider discrimination?

Health Provider Discrimination

  • With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, it is now illegal for any health program or organization that is funded or administered by the federal government to discriminate against you because you are transgender, or because you are perceived as not conforming to gender stereotypes.
  • These include:
    • Physicians’ offices
    • Hospitals
    • Community Health Clinics
    • Drug rehabilitation programs
    • Rape crisis centers
    • Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
    • School- and university-based clinics
    • Medical residency programs
    • Home health providers
    • Veteran’s health centers
    • Health services in prison or detention facilities

Transition-Related Care

Restroom Access

What are my rights when it comes to public restroom access?




The Know Your Rights campaign is intended to provide general information regarding major areas of federal, state, and local laws or policies.  It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Past practice is no guarantee of future developments.  While laws and legal procedure are subject to frequent change and differing interpretations in the ordinary course, this is even more true as transgender issues receive more scrutiny in the courts.  SC Equality cannot ensure the information is current or be responsible for any use to which it is put. Contact a qualified attorney in South Carolina for legal advice about your particular situation.