This series is designed to teach you about our legal structure in the context of current political events. Go deeper, past news articles, with this infographic.
This map's topic is Transgender Rights.
The Constitution does not have any text specifically referencing transgender people. But some argue the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause applies: No state shall deny to any person "equal protection of the laws."
Congress has not passed any laws specifically protecting transgender people. But some argue that laws preventing gender discrimination should apply to protect discrimination of transgender people. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX says "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” See Obama's revoked guidance in the Executive column.
president and Executive agencies
President Obama issued an executive order prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in employment by the federal government and its contractors.
Also under Obama, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice issued a letter (executive guidance that has just been revoked by President Trump) interpreting the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX that schools receiving federal funding (e.g. public schools) should respect gender identity, advising schools to use a student's preferred name and pronouns and to allow use of bathrooms and locker rooms of the student's gender identity. See Gloucester County School Board vs. G.G. in the Judicial column.
A federal appeals court (Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals) ruled in Gloucester County School Board vs. G.G. (2016) against a school board’s policy requiring students to use restroom and locker rooms of their assigned sex at birth, citing the executive guidance issued under Obama and then revoked by Trump. The Supreme Court planned to hear the appeal, but that was before President Trump revoked the guidance. The Supreme Court now is requiring the Fourth Circuit to revisit the ruling.
Supreme Court decided in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment guarantees all people (particularly transgender people and same-sex couples) the fundamental right to marry. The ruling means that states cannot issue laws, rules or take any actions to prevent same-sex marriage (thus had to strike any laws against it).
Some states recognize and protect against discrimination of transgender people, but to varying degrees.
States may not prohibit same-sex marriage, due to Obergefell v. Hodges (see Judicial column).