Our clients Xavier Hersom and John Doe are transgender men living in WV who tried to update their gender markers on their birth certificates and ran into roadblocks. A West Virginia Division of Health and Human Resources policy required the disclosure of birth certificate revisions by putting a strike-through line in the text. In other words, deeply personal information that could put transgender people in harm’s way would exist on one of their most important government documents 

To make things harder, WVDHHR required anyone requesting a gender marker change to get a circuit court order directing the amendment. This is impossible because the WV Supreme Court of Appeals held that the current state law does not give circuit courts authority to amend gender markers on WV birth certificates.  

We reached a settlement agreement in October 2022 to end the requirement that unnecessary, personal information be being disclosed when changing your gender marker and allowed West Virginians to amend their gender markers on their birth certificates without a court order. If you would like to know more information about how to change your gender marker in West Virginia, click here.  


Nicholas Ward

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

ACLU, Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic

Date filed

August 12, 2021


West Virginia Southern District Court


Joseph R. Goodwin



Case number