In recent years, there has been significant pushback from lawmakers and the public working to oppose trans freedoms. As of April 2023, over 400 anti-trans bills have been introduced in state legislatures (Choi, 2023). These bills are related to the rights and liberties of trans individuals in a variety of contexts including healthcare, education, military involvement, and more.
Select the tabs below to learn more about some of the legislation affecting trans lives.
In recent years, there has been legislation passed in several states attempting to limit transgender individuals' access and use of public bathrooms, changing rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities on the basis of gender identity. One of the earliest examples of this was the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act in North Carolina.
In 2016, North Carolina state legislature passed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (Opens New Window) (HB2). This law established that all bathrooms in schools, state government, and local government facilities must be segregated by biological sex, and that all individuals must use the bathroom aligning with their sex assigned on their birth certificate.
This decision led to the US Department of Justice (Obama Administration) to issue a court filing against the State of North Carolina in 2017 (Opens New Window). Following the case, the State of North Carolina passed House Bill 142 (Opens New Window), partially repealing the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act. HB142 states that educational and governmental facilities or agencies are not permitted to regulate access to restrooms without the consent of the General Assembly. Additionally, the bill denied local governments the ability to pass anti-discrimination legislation until December of 2020 (Opens New Window).
In December 2020, HB2 was officially repealed. As a cautionary measure following this repeal, several local governments quickly worked to establish anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals (Opens New Window).
Despite the repeal of HB2 in North Carolina, several other states have adopted and developed their own legislation limiting trans access to bathrooms and other public facilities that align with their gender identity.
The Movement Advancement Project has created and updated a map of the United States (and US Territories) to illustrate where there are currently bathroom bans in effect. Click the map below to learn more.
Learn more about current and recent legislation surrounding bathroom bills by reviewing the resources below.
Recent legislation has led to rollbacks on trans and gender non-conforming youth's access to gender-affirming care from their healthcare providers. Several states have made it either incredibly difficult or impossible for trans youth to receive medical care that affirms their identities and facilitates a healthy, happy life.
As of June 6th, 2023, the states shown in the map below are either considering or have passed laws that ban the provision of gender-affirming care for individuals under the age of 18 (Human Rights Campaign, 2023).
Twenty states have already voted to ban access to gender-affirming care. These bans are ongoing. Learn more about relevant gender-affirming care bills by reviewing the resources below.
There is an extensive history of LGBTQ+ involvement and disclosure of service in the US military. In recent years, the two largest controversies surrounding LGBTQ+ military service are Don't Ask Don't Tell (enacted by President Bill Clinton) and the Transgender Military Ban (enacted by President Donald Trump).
From 1994 to 2011, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) (Opens New Window) was the mantra and policy for queerness in the US military. This policy, enacted by the Clinton Administration, enforced that individuals who openly identified as LGBTQ+ could face discharge on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The only way LGBTQ+ individuals could serve in the military, under this policy, was if they were to closet themselves and not tell anyone about their identity.
After a majority vote in the US Senate (65-31) (Opens New Window), DADT was repealed in December 2010. President Barack Obama signed the Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Act (Opens New Window) into law in early 2011, permitting LGBTQ+ individuals to openly serve in the military.
In July of 2017, President Donald Trump tweeted (Opens New Window) that he intended to ban transgender individuals from service in the United States military. The corresponding military directive (written August 2017 (Opens New Window)) from President Trump faced backlash from the federal courts (Opens New Window), postponing the policy taking effect. After amending the policy to disqualify trans servicemembers who specifically required surgeries or medications to treat gender dysphoria, the ban went into effect in April of 2019 (Opens New Window).
Upon his election, President Joe Biden reversed Trump's ban in January of 2021 (Opens New Window). In this reversal, servicemembers cannot be prohibited from military service on the basis of gender identity.
Despite this reversal, there are still bills that attempt to prevent trans people from serving in the military. Most notably, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) have introduced a bill (Opens New Window) to limit trans access to military service. According to the bill, trans servicemembers would be forced to enlist in accordance with their assigned sex at birth. In response to this, Representative Sara Jacobs (D-CA) has introduced a bill (Opens New Window) to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the US military. Neither of these bills have passed yet (Opens New Window).
Several policies and laws have been introduced and enacted in recent years related to the discussion and education of transgender identities while in the K-12 classroom (as well as sexual orientation, in a separate vein). The following table denotes examples of current legislation (or legislation in progress) relating to transgender students in US schools. Note - this is not a comprehensive list.
|Bill||Statements Regarding Transgender Education||Status|
|Alabama House Bill 322 (Opens New Window)||
"A public K-12 school shall require every multiple occupancy restroom or changing area designated for student use to be used by individuals based on their biological sex."
"An individual or group of individuals providing classroom instruction to students in kindergarten through the fifth grade at a public K-12 school shall not engage in classroom discussion or provide classroom instruction regarding sexual orientation or gender identity in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
|Passed, In force|
|Florida Parental Rights in Education Act 2022 (Opens New Window)||
"An act relating to parental rights in education; amending s. 1001.42, F.S.; [...] prohibiting classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner"
"Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
|Passed, in force|
|North Carolina House Bill 755 (Opens New Window)||"Prohibits instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from inclusion in K-3rd grade curriculum, as specified."||Referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operation of the House|
|Ohio House Bill 616 (Opens New Window)||
"No school district, community school, STEM school, nonpublic school that enrolls students who are participating in a state scholarship program, or any employee or other third party representing a school district or school shall do either of the following:
(a) With respect to a student in any of grades kindergarten through three, teach, use, or provide any curriculum or instructional materials on sexual orientation or gender identity;
(b) With respect to a student in any of grades four through twelve, teach, use, or provide any curriculum or instructional materials on sexual orientation or gender identity in any manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
|Referred to House Committee|
|Texas Health & Safety Code 163.002 (Opens New Window)||
Course materials and instruction relating to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should include:
(8) emphasis, provided in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code.
*Note - Penal Code 21.06 was determined to be unconstitutional according to the 2003 Supreme Court ruling Lawrence v. Texas. Despite this verdict, Health & Safety Code 163.002 has not been repealed.
|Virginia Department of Education's 2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia's Public Schools (Opens New Window)||
"Parents are in the best position to work with their children and, where appropriate, their children’s health care providers to determine
(a) what names, nicknames, and/or pronouns, if any, shall be used for their child by teachers and school staff while their child is at school,
(b) whether their child engages in any counseling or social transition at school that encourages a gender that differs from their child’s sex, or
(c) whether their child expresses a gender that differs with their child’s sex while at school."
|Stop the Sexualization of Children Act (Opens New Window)||
(a) No Federal funds may be made available to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10, including hosting or promoting any program, event, or literature involving sexually oriented material, or any program, event, or literature that exposes children under the age of 10 to nude adults, individuals who are stripping, or lewd or lascivious dancing.
(b) A federally owned facility or property may not be used to host or promote any sexually oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10, including any program, event, or literature listed in subsection (a).
(1) PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION.—A parent or legal guardian of a child may bring a civil action for injunctive relief in any Federal district court of appropriate jurisdiction against a government official, government agency, or private entity for a violation of subsection (a) or subsection (b) by such an official, agency, or entity if the child was—
(A) exposed to sexually oriented material funded in part or in whole by Federal funds; and
(B) under the age of 10 at the time that such exposure occurred.
SEXUALLY ORIENTED MATERIAL.—The term “sexually oriented material” means any depiction, description, or simulation of sexual activity, any lewd or lascivious depiction or description of human genitals, or any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects.
|Introduced to Congress|