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Laws and Discrimination


Workplace Discrimination

According to Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace, at least one of every five transgender people have experienced workplace discrimination and harassment.

  • 30% report being fired, or denied a promotion.

  • 54% reported being mistreated in school

  • 30% reported having been homeless 17% in the last year.

  • 60% have avoided public restrooms.

  • 33% reported having at least one bad experience with a provider. 

  • 25% experienced a problem with insurance.

  • 29% were living in poverty compared to 14% of the US population.

Getting and keeping a regular job is out of reach for many transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) people, and the experiences endured when they do have a job can be just as traumatic. Whether accused of using the “wrong” restroom, harassed for not matching one gender stereotype or another or being the only one in the office turned down for medically necessary health care, TGNC employees often face humiliating treatment and unfair policies every day of the week.

Discrimination can be an everyday experience for many transgender people and can affect nearly every area of life.

There are many facets to how laws and lack thereof affect a Trans* or Gender Non-Conforming day to day life. We will touch on some subjects here, while also providing you more information to further your knowledge.

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For further education on Laws and Discrimination, please refer to the links below:

The National Center for Transgender Equality

The Transgender Law Center

Lambda Legal


Human Rights Watch

Federal Case Law on Transgender People and Discrimination

Transgender Rights Toolkit: A Legal Guide For Trans People and Their Advocates

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These are just two of the areas that people who are part of Trans* and Gender Non-Conforming community face.

From discrimination in healthcare to our youth facing down anti-trans policies in their schools...the list seems to be unending.

To find out more information on other areas of Discrimination and the laws that may protect your rights, please refer to the link below:

Remember that VISIBILITY IS KEY!
Transgender rights are LGBT rights, but sidelining of transgender issues and people has always been a problem in the LGB movement, even when they’re at the very center of what’s going on, such as during the 1969 Stonewall riots. Since 2003, there has been a movement to supplement LGBT Pride marches with trans-focused events, including the massive Trans March in San Francisco every year. The activist side of Transgender Pride has exploded into a separate Transgender Day Of Action in recent years. Organized by New York City’s TransJustice, part of the Audre Lorde Project, to call attention to hate crimes, biased policing and the intersection of racism and transphobia, the Day of Action has lately spread to Washington, DC and
other cities.

Transphobia and Violence on Trans & Gender Non-Conforming People

Transgender people face extraordinary levels of physical and sexual violence, whether on the streets, at school or work, at home, or at the hands of government officials.

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey:

  • Nearly half (46%) of respondents were verbally harassed in the past year because of being transgender.

  • Nearly one in ten (9%) respondents were physically attacked in the past year because of being transgender.

  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents were sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime and one in ten (10%) were sexually assaulted in the past year. In communities of color, these numbers are higher: 53% of Black respondents were sexually assaulted in their lifetime and 13% were sexually assaulted in the last year.

  • 72% of respondents who have done sex work, 65% of respondents who have experienced homelessness, and 61% of respondents with disabilities reported being sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

  • More than half (54%) experienced some form of intimate partner violence, including acts involving coercive control and physical harm.

In recent years, the rash of murders has prompted an international outcry and since 1998 has been marked annually around the world on Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th). Also, following years of grassroots campaigning, a U.S. federal hate crimes law now covers TGNC victims as well (see FAQ). And protests against police brutality are beginning to bring changes in a few major American cities.

Federal hate crimes legislation include limited protections for gender identity. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 criminalized "willfully causing bodily injury (or attempting to do so with fire, firearm, or other dangerous weapon)" on the basis of an "actual or perceived" identity.


However, protections for hate crimes motivated on the basis of a victim's gender identity or sexual orientation is limited to "crime affect[ing] interstate or foreign commerce or occur[ring] within federal special maritime and territorial jurisdiction." This limitation only applies to gender identity and sexual orientation, and not to race, color, religion or national origin. Therefore, hate crimes which occur outside these jurisdictions are not protected by federal law.

22 states plus Washington D.C. have hate crimes legislation which include gender identity or expression as a protected group. They are Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Rhode Island, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Maine, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, Utah, Virginia, and New York. The District of Columbia also has a trans-inclusive hate crimes law. Twenty-seven states have hate-crimes legislation which exclude transgender people. Six states have no hate-crimes legislation at all.

Numerous municipalities have passed hate-crime legislation, some of which include transgender people. However Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee recently passed laws which ban municipalities from enacting such protections for sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

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