Press Release February 23, 2021

Goodwin Achieves Significant Win in Support of Transgender Equality

As part of Goodwin’s Pro Bono partnership with the GLAD Trans ID Project, Complex Litigation + Dispute Resolution and Financial Industry Litigation associate Xander Saide helped a Connecticut resident who was born in the United States Virgin Islands overcome legal challenges to amend his birth certificate to reflect his male gender identification.

With a valid order to amend the birth certificate from a Connecticut court but no precedent for the U.S. Virgin Islands to grant the request, it was rejected multiple times, most notably in February of 2020 on the grounds of the Connecticut state court order being unenforceable in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

After nearly a year, a pro se petition for the enforcement of a foreign judgment in the Virgin Islands Superior Court was granted, and a judge of the Superior Court ordered that the Office of Vital Statistics accept a properly-filed application to amend the birth certificate and gender marker consistent with Virgin Islands law.

Saide was supported by the Goodwin Pro Bono team that manages the firm’s GLAD Name Change Project efforts, consisting of Real Estate Industry partner Blake Liggio, litigation associates Sarah Fischer and Brian Cook, litigation attorney Rena Kramer, and senior paralegal Richard Ware. Goodwin has engaged 221 lawyers and 16 Summer Associates, Paralegals and GO! Team members in its partnership with GLAD to help transgender people navigate the legal processes related to name change and gender marker updates to reflect their post-transition name and gender.

Each year, through Goodwin’s Pro Bono initiative, the firm’s lawyers dedicate more than 65,000 hours to help individuals and nonprofit organizations that might not otherwise be able to afford legal assistance.

Learn more about GLAD and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund Name Change Project.