Psychologists can now sign off on changing gender on NH driver’s licenses 

  • This sample shows the new type of drivers license number, consisting of NHL for an operators license followed by eight random digits. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 10/3/2018 5:20:01 PM

It’s getting easier for people to change the gender listed on their New Hampshire driver’s license, now that psychologists have been added to the list of professionals who can sign the permission form. 

“Our clients were asking us to sign it, and when we looked at the form we realized that we weren’t even listed,” said Dr. Celia Oliver, board president of the New Hampshire Psychological Association.

The Change of Gender Designation form issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles requires the signature of a health care provider who attests, “In my professional opinion, the applicant’s gender identity is (check one) male/female and can reasonably be expected to continue as such in the foreseeable future.” 

Permitted health care providers who can sign the form include physicians, APRN’s who are nurses who have obtained at least a master’s degree, and clinical social workers or mental health counselors. A recent change in administrative rules means psychologists have now been added to the list.

Dr. Teresa Johnson said the issue was noticed back in March 2016. The lack of psychologists was a complication for patients, she said, because it meant “they needed to create another relationship with another therapist who they haven’t been using” in order to get their gender designation legally changed.

Johnson noted that under medical best practices, surgeons require letters from mental health professionals before they will perform surgery to change biological gender, and many of them require that a psychologist be one of the professionals.

The DMV form is good for non-driving identification as well as driver’s licenses.

New Hampshire requires people to choose either male or female. In June, Maine began offering the option of a “non-binary gender designation,” designated by the letter X instead of the letters F or M. Oregon and Washington, D.C., also offer that option, and Vermont is considering it.

People have been able to change their gender on DMV licenses for more than a decade, although the process of changing official gender designation was once much stricter. At one time New Hampshire, like many government agencies, required evidence that gender assignment surgery had been performed before any change could be made to official documents.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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