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Jayapal, Cicilline, Newman, Takano, Torres Lead Members in Introducing the Trans Bill of Rights

Amidst unprecedented attacks on our rights, this landmark resolution lays out concrete steps for providing protections for transgender and nonbinary folks

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), David Cicilline (RI-01), Marie Newman (IL-03), Mark Takano (CA-41), and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) led members of Congress in introducing a Trans Bill of Rights. This resolution provides a comprehensive framework to provide protections for transgender and nonbinary people, ensuring that they are not discriminated against or persecuted for their gender identity and expression. It comes shortly after the Supreme Court gutted Roe v. Wade, stripping many of their constitutional right to choose, and as the Court seems poised and willing to take on other hard-earned constitutional rights. 

“As we witness Republicans and an extremist Supreme Court attack and roll back the fundamental rights of trans people across our country, and as state legislatures across the country target our trans community with hateful, bigoted, and transphobic attacks, we are standing up and saying enough is enough,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Co-Chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force. “Our Trans Bill of Rights says clearly to the trans community across the country that we see you and we will stand with you to ensure you are protected and given the dignity and respect that every person should have.  We know that trans people, and  trans people of color in particular, face some of the greatest barriers in access to opportunity, services and resources, and facing some of the worst discrimination.  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 lead full, happy lives with the basic freedoms to housing, physical and mental healthcare, and employment without discrimination or a risk to their lives.”

“Our transgender and nonbinary siblings are hurting,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), 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. Just last week, I heard directly from transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming youth about the harmful impact these bills are having on their lives. As Members of Congress we need to not just condemn these efforts but also put forward a vision of what equality truly looks like. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this Transgender Bill of Rights and outlining a framework for providing full protections for all people based on their gender identity.” 

“Between January and May of 2022, state legislatures across the country introduced more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills — most of them targeting transgender youth. I cosponsored the Transgender Bill of Rights resolution to put an end to this intolerance by enforcing the civil rights of transgender and nonbinary people, and ensuring they have access to some of the most basic human rights such as public accommodations and healthcare. We cannot continue to watch transgender individuals live in fear and face these constant and consistent attacks without taking steps to address the problem,” said Congressman Mark Takano. 

“Every American should be free to live as their authentic self and free from discrimination — period,” said Congresswoman Marie Newman. “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. The ability for trans folks to live free from discrimination is quite literally a life-and-death issue. This legislation is especially crucial right now, as right-wing extremists have grown increasingly vicious and targeted in their harassment of transgender Americans, both through the legislative process and outside of it. I will keep fighting like hell for my daughter’s rights and the rights of transgender Americans across the country. I could not be prouder to join my colleagues in introducing this bill.”

“As a proud member of the LGBTQ community, it is shameful to witness legislatures across the country propose policies that endanger the physical and emotional safety of trans individuals and block critical access to health care, housing, and employment,” said Congressman Ritchie Torres. “It is time for Congress to unequivocally denounce the violence and introduction of anti-transgender legislation nationwide, and unreservedly commit to protecting the well-being and safety of transgender and nonbinary communities. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution to outline a clear framework to fully protect transgender Americans from discrimination of any kind.”

In the last year alone, there have been more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed in state legislatures across the country, jeopardizing the safety and mental health of LGBTQ+ youth and trans youth in particular. A survey found that 52% of trans youth have contemplated suicide in the last year. 

“It was a pleasure for our staff to contribute to the formation of a federal Trans Bill of Rights. Representative Jayapal has been a strong supporter of the Black trans community, and we are grateful to her for prioritizing our community in this time of need,” said Jaelynn Scott, executive director of Lavender Rights Project. “The crisis of violence against Black trans women and femmes needs urgent attention at this moment in our history. This bill comes at a perfect time considering the relentless nationwide attacks on bodily autonomy by the right and alt-right—for both cisgender and transgender people alike. We wholeheartedly encourage the passage of this bill and its accompanying appropriations to support the protection of trans people, and especially our most vulnerable: Black trans women and femmes.”

“With this resolution, the members of the House of Representatives firmly recognize that transgender and non-binary people in our country need and deserve equal opportunity to live and thrive,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “While some politicians are targeting our community with discriminatory legislation, we are grateful that the members House of Representatives are sending this message to us – and especially to transgender youth – that they affirm our lives and value the contributions we make to our country. We deserve to live as who we are without sacrificing our safety, access to health care or enduring violence and discrimination.”

The Trans Bill of Rights calls on the federal government to provide protections for transgender and nonbinary people by:

  • Ensuring that transgender and nonbinary people have equal access to services and public accommodations by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly include gender identity and sex characteristics as protected characteristics and amending federal education laws to explicitly clarify that they protect students from discrimination based on gender identity and sex characteristics.
  • Ensuring transgender and nonbinary people have the ability to provide for themselves and their families by codifying Bostock and clarifying that it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing, and credit based on gender identity and sex characteristics.
  • Recognizing the right to bodily autonomy and ethical healthcare by expanding access to gender-affirming medical care, codifying the right to abortion and contraception, protecting transgender people from discrimination in healthcare, and banning forced surgery on intersex children and infants in violation of ethical standards of care.
  • Promoting the safety of trans and nonbinary people by investing in community services to prevent violence against trans and nonbinary people and expand services for survivors, investing in mental health services designed for transgender and nonbinary people, and banning “conversion therapy” practices.
  • Enforcing the civil rights of transgender people by requiring the Attorney General to designate a liaison within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice dedicated to advising and overseeing enforcement of the civil rights of transgender people.

Original Cosponsors: Pramila Jayapal, David N. Cicilline, Marie Newman, Mark Takano, Ritchie Torres, Alma S. Adams, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Karen Bass, Earl Blumenauer, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Suzanne Bonamici, Jamaal Bowman, Shontel Brown, Anthony G. Brown, Julia Brownley, Cori Bush, , André Carson, Sean Casten, Kathy Castor, Judy Chu, Katherine Clark, Yvette D. Clarke, Gerald E. Connolly, Danny K. Davis, Madeleine Dean, Peter DeFazio, Mark DeSaulnier, Lloyd Doggett, Veronica Escobar, Anna G. Eshoo, Dwight Evans, John Garamendi, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Al Green, Raúl M. Grijalva, Jahana Hayes, Brian Higgins, Sheila Jackson Lee, Sara Jacobs, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr., Mondaire Jones, William R. Keating, Ro Khanna, Ann McLane Kuster, Jim Langevin, John B. Larson, Brenda L. Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Teresa Leger Fernández, Andy Levin, Alan S. Lowenthal, Stephen F. Lynch, Carolyn B. Maloney, Betty McCollum, James P. McGovern, Grace Meng, Gwen Moore, Jerrold Nadler, Grace Napolitano, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Jimmy Panetta, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Chellie Pingree, Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley, Mike Quigley, Jamie Raskin, Linda T. Sánchez, Jan Schakowsky, Adam Smith, Darren Soto, Jackie Speier, Haley Stevens, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, Paul Tonko, Lori Trahan, Nydia M. Velázquez, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Peter Welch, Nikema Williams, Frederica S. Wilson

Endorsing organizations: Athlete Ally, Congressional Equality Caucus, Entre Hermanos, FORGE, Inc., Gender Justice League, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, Latinas en Poder, Latino Community Fund of Washington State, Lavender Rights Project, LGBTQ Allyship, Movement Advancement Project (MAP), MoveOn, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Education Association, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Women’s Law Center, OneAmerica, PFLAG National, QLaw Foundation of Washington, Rainbow Center, Seattle Indivisible, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, Trans Families, Transgender Law Center, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, True Colors United, URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, Washington State Indivisible Podcast, Washington State LGBTQ Commission, YouthCare