Transgender In Virginia

Equality Virginia believes in a truly inclusive commonwealth where all are equally welcomed and valued, regardless of gender identity.

Read the Report

Updated Virginia data on transgender discrimination was released in 2017. View the findings now.

Legal Protections

Virginia law does not include statewide protections against hate violence or discrimination in workplaces, housing, or public spaces based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. In 2014, Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order Number 1 to protect state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but there is much more work to be done. All Virginians should be treated fairly and have an equal opportunity to work, live, and thrive.


Changing Your Name and Gender Marker in Identity Documents and Other Records

  • Download this detailed reference list of documents, accounts and personal information that may need to be changed during your transition.
  • Obtaining a Name/Gender Change Court Order, Social Security, Immigration Documents, and More – The Name and Gender Change Guide for Virginia Residents, developed by Whitman-Walker Health and Trans Legal Advocates of Washington (LAW), provides an outline for Virginians who wish to change their name and/or gender marker on identity documents and other records.
  • Driver’s License – The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles implemented a much simpler policy for changing one’s gender marker. A Gender Change Request Form (DL-17) is available on the DMV website and requires only a signature from a licensed provider attesting to the fact that the applicant is a patient of the provider and that the applicant’s gender identity is either female or male.
  • Virginia Birth Certificate and Gender Marker Court Order – check out this guide developed by Equality Virginia and National Center for Transgender Equality which provides an outline for Virginia residents who wish to obtain a court order for their gender marker in order to update their Virginia birth certificate.
    • Healthcare Provider Referral Letter This template developed in a collaboration between Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, Health Brigade, National Center for Transgender Equality, and Equality Virginia, provides an outline for medical providers to reference when writing gender confirming letters under the new petition for change of sex form.
  • Consulting with an Attorney – If you would like to connect with an attorney through Health Brigade to receive legal counseling or help with your name/gender marker process, please fill out this application. This service requires a financial eligibility screening.

Healthcare Access

  • Insurance – Unfortunately, many plans in Virginia are still using discriminatory exclusions to deny coverage to transgender people for medically necessary health care. However, the Affordable Care Act does ensure that insurance companies cannot refuse to sell you a plan or charge you more based upon your gender identity or transgender medical history. To learn more about how to sign up for health insurance and get connected with a local navigator, visit the Out2Enroll website. And check out TransCend Legal’s video series for a step-by-step guide to navigate your insurance coverage and apply for coverage of transition-related care.
    • The National Center for Transgender Equality offers a comprehensive Health Coverage Guide.
    • Learn more about affordable trans health services through Planned Parenthood. You can contact Melissa-Irene at [email protected]
    • Medicaid – If you were not eligible for Medicaid before, you might be after the recent expansion. Visit CoverVA to find out more and enroll. Keep in mind that you will have to choose between six insurance companies that will administer your Medicaid plan. Optima is the only one that we know of the six that explicitly does not cover transition-related care. Also check out NCTE’s Medicare Guide for more information on coverage and resources.
    • If you are a low-income resident of Greater Richmond Area without insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid, you may qualify for the Health Brigade Trans Health Services
      • email Chelsea, [email protected], or call (804) 358-6343 in order to schedule an appointment.
  • Explaining Medical Necessity – There are many resources that you can cite when discussing medical necessity of your care. The main ones are:
  • Mental Health Crisis Lines – If you or someone you know is at risk of  self-harm or is having suicidal thoughts, here are some LGBT-friendly resources for immediate use:
    • Non-Emergency Hotlines: GLBT National Hotline – free & confidential service that provides  telephone, online private 1-to-1 chat and email peer-support, as well  as factual information and local resources for cities and towns across  the United States, with a resource database of over 15,000 listings.
      Call: 1-888-843-4564
      M-F 4pm-midnight EST
      Sat 12pm-5pm EST
  • Health Impacts of anti-transgender discrimination. Learn more from the American Medical Association about how discrimination impacts well-being as it relates to:

Housing and Homelessness

  • Finding a Home  If you or someone you know is between the ages of 18 and 25 and is experiencing unsafe/unstable housing, Side by Side and its partners have a Host Home Program for LGBTQ Youth. For more information, or to ask about becoming a host yourself, email CasSandra Calin at [email protected]
    • For adults in Virginia facing unstable housing, you can reach out to the Transgender Assistance Program through their website or by emailing [email protected] They provide a Host Home Program as well as help with finding employment, meals, transportation, and clothing.
    • For people in the DC area, Casa Ruby provides a free shelter at night and during weather emergencies, as well as short-term and transitional living programs for LGBT youth 18-24. Call 202-355-5155 or email [email protected] for more information.
    • For Falls Church/Alexandria, New Hope Housing provides transitional and supportive housing programs, homeless shelter, support services, and resource referrals for individuals experiencing homelessness. The shelter makes it a point to create a comfortable, welcoming, and affirming environment for transgender individuals.
  • Food Access – LGBT people facing food insecurity can access the Nationz Foundation food pantry via their office (4794 Finlay Street, Ste.1, Henrico, VA 23231) Monday through Friday, 11AM to 6PM. Please contact in advance by calling  804-716-7597 or emailing [email protected] Visit their website for more information. If you can help, you can drop off canned food items at their office M-F 11AM-6PM.


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  • Traveling While Trans – Airport security can be a cause of anxiety for trans patrons because of the involvement of checking ID and potential pat-downs. TSA’s Know Before You Go: Transgender Travelers can be a good resource to anticipate the security process and how to request changes or help for your comfort. For more information, you can access NCTE’s Know Your Rights: Airport Security.
    • Another resource that might be helpful is the LGBT Study Abroad Guide. It is specifically made for high school and college students in study abroad programs for understanding gender and sexuality in different cultural lenses, staying safe, building connections and resources. However, it also has interesting information and connections for other LGBT folks who are traveling internationally.
  • Travel Documents – To learn more about updating your passport as part of you transition, check out NCTE’s Know Your Rights: Passports. For the legal process in Virginia, refer back to The Name and Gender Change Guide for Virginia Residents.

Community Resources

Below is a list of resources available to members of the transgender and non-binary community in Virginia and Metro Washington, DC.  There are groups for social, advocacy, or educational purposes; some groups have support meetings for transgender and non-binary people, and their significant others.


 Northern Virginia

 Central Virginia

 Hampton Roads

Eastern Shore

Southwest Virginia

Washington, D.C. and Maryland






People of Color Specific