Resources for Transgender Virginians

Legal Protections

On July 1, 2020, Virginia became the first state in the South to pass non-discrimination protections in housing, employment, public spaces, credit for LGBTQ Virginians. This is a landmark achievement but there’s more to be done before LGBTQ Virginians have full, lived equality in the Commonwealth. Additionally, as of June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that it is illegal for employers to discriminate against LGBTQ people under federal law – this applies to companies that employe 15 people or more annually. 

  • Discrimination
    • Employment
    • Housing
      • As of July 1, 2020, LGBTQ Virginians are covered under the Virginia Fair Housing Law. Landlords and realtors can not discriminate against LGBTQ people in housing. If you have experienced discrimination in housing, you can file a complaint here through the Virginia Division of Human Rights. It is also strongly recommended you get in touch with an attorney. 
    • Public Spaces (legally called Public Accommodations)
      • As of July 1, 2020, LGBTQ Virginians are protected from discrimination in any place that is open to the public. This includes restaurants, shops, doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, educational institutions, banks, insurance companies, transportation services, shelters, food banks, child and elder care centers, funeral parlors, hair salons, gas stations, entertainment venues, on-line businesses, and government buildings. You can file a complaint here through the Virginia Division of Human Rights.
    • Credit
      • As of July 1, 2020, LGBTQ Virginians cannot be discriminated against in accessing credit, which could include being denied credit because of your identity, being charged discriminatory interest rates or having discriminatory payment schedules due to your identity, and being asked invasive, inappropriate questions about a previous legal name due to being transgender. Check back in soon for more information about what to do if you face discrimination.
  • Conversion Therapy – if you experienced conversion therapy in Virginia, report it to the Virginia Department of Health Professions. You are eligible to file a complaint if you experienced the treatment before the age of 18, the counselor/therapist is a licensed professional (under the boards of psychology, counseling, or social work) and acting in that role as a counselor. For more information, contact Equality Virginia.
  • To learn more about trans legal issues – check out Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Toolkit: A Legal Guide for Trans People and Their Advocates.

RESOURCES

Name and Gender Marker Change Resources

As of July 1, 2020, the process to update the gender marker on your license or ID at the DMV is now much easier and includes a non-binary gender marker. On September 1, the process to update your gender marker on a Virginia birth certificate will also change. Check back in soon for more information on the updated and simplified processes.

  • 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
    • If you need to change the name on your license, you will need to go in person to the DMV along with a courter order, marriage certificate, or divorce decree to prove your legal name change.
    • Virginia now allows a non-binary gender marker and modernized the gender marker update process. To update your gender marker, get a replacement license or ID card from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and then select the appropriate gender marker on the DL1P application form: male, female, or non-binary. You can select whichever gender marker you would like to appear on your license, regardless of what gender marker might be listed on any other identity documents you show the DMV. If you would also like to update your photo or your signature, you need to go in person to the DMV.
  • 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.
  • Get AssistanceProject ID’s Virginia Chapter can assist you with support, paperwork, and financial assistance for obtaining/updating a state ID. This includes getting your birth certificate and other supporting documentation, as needed. They can also help and you register to vote, provide you voter information and even assist you in getting your voting rights restored if you’ve been convicted of a felony and have completed your release requirements. To find out more or request assistance email them at [email protected] or call 571-406-7881.

Healthcare Access

  • Insurance – Unfortunately, many plans in Virginia are still using discriminatory exclusions to deny coverage to transgender people for medically necessary health care. 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.
  • 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

  • Discrimination As of July 1, 2020, LGBTQ Virginians are covered under the Virginia Fair Housing Law. Landlords and realtors can not discriminate against LGBTQ people in housing. If you have experienced discrimination in housing, you can file a complaint here. It is also strongly recommended you get in touch with an attorney. 
  • 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 Greater Richmond area, Nationz Foundation’s Aim To Inspire project provides emergency housing assistance to the LGBTQ community and transportation for medical appointments or supportive services. Please contact their office or email Troy Kershaw at [email protected]
    • 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.

Employment

As of July 1, All LGBTQ Virginians are legally protected from discrimination at any private company or non-profit with 6 or more employees. Additionally, Virginia state agencies are prohibited from discriminating against LGBTQ employees regardless of how many people they employ.

Schools

  • Transgender Students –
    • As of July 1, 2020, no public school, or private school open to public enrollment, can discriminate against LGBTQ students, teachers, or administrators. 
    • Thanks to a new Virginia law, all school boards must adopt a comprehensive policy on how to treat transgender and non-binary students by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. These policies will be based on guidelines developed by the Virginia Department of Education by December 31, 2020. Start talking with your school board now about why they should adopt a comprehensive policy that serves all students, including transgender and non-binary students. 
    • All kids should have the opportunity to do well in school and graduate. The Schools In Transition guide responds to the dynamics that affect a transgender or non-binary student’s experiences in school, and incorporates recommendations for all students kindergarten through twelfth grade. Learn more about EV’s commitment to Creating Inclusive Schools and access resources for administrators and educators.
  • Bathroom Access –  Transgender Students and School Bathrooms: Frequently Asked Questions addresses questions concerning safety, propriety, privacy, and legality that have been brought up by many people in the school community. For advocacy, check out GLAAD’s An Ally’s Guide to Talking about Transgender-Inclusive Non-Discrimination Laws.

Voting

Travel

  • 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.

Regional

 Northern Virginia

 Central Virginia

 Hampton Roads

Eastern Shore

Southwest Virginia

Washington, D.C. and Maryland

 

Statewide

 

National

 

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