House lawmakers introduce Trans Bill of Rights

U.S. Representatives have introduced a resolution for a ‘Trans Bill of Rights,’ with the aim of codifying protections for transgender people into law.

The bill is championed by Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, David Cicilline (RI-01), Marie Newman (IL-03), Mark Takano (CA-41) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15), with 85 cosponsors—all of them Democrats.

Jayapal said the resolution provides a framework for protecting transgender and nonbinary people against discrimination based on their gender identity and expression.

The announcement comes shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion and expressing intent to reconsider other landmark decisions that protect the LGBTQ+ community.

"Our transgender and nonbinary siblings are hurting," said Cicilline, Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. "Across the country, radical right-wing Republicans have introduced hundreds of bills attacking the LGBTQ+ community — particularly transgender and nonbinary youth — to score political points."

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In the last year, state legislatures have proposed more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that particularly threaten the safety and mental health of young trans people. A recent survey from the Trevor Project found that 52% of trans youth have contemplated suicide in the last year.

"With this resolution, we salute the resilience and courage of trans people across our country, and outline a clear vision of what we must do in Congress in order to allow trans people to lead full, happy lives with the basic freedoms to housing, physical and mental healthcare, and employment without discrimination or a risk to their lives," said Jayapal, Co-Chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force.

The bill is endorsed by 32 civil rights organizations, including the National Center for Transgender Equality. If passed, the Trans Bill of Rights would:

  • Amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect gender identity and sex characteristics as protected classes
  • Codify the 2020 Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County, making it illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and credit based on gender identity and sex characteristics
  • Expand access to gender-affirming medical care, and codify the right to abortion and contraception, and banning forced surgery on intersex children
  • Invest in community services to prevent anti-trans violence, investing in mental health services for trans people and banning "conversion therapy"
  • Require the Attorney General to designate a liaison within the Department of Justice to advise and oversee the enforcement of trans civil rights

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"As the proud mother of a transgender daughter, I know personally just how crucial it is that we defend the human rights of our transgender community across the country," said Newman. "The ability for trans folks to live free from discrimination is quite literally a life-and-death issue."