Democrats unveiling ‘Transgender Bill of Rights’
A group of House Democrats on Tuesday announced they would move to codify federal protections for transgender people.
The proposal, dubbed the “Transgender Bill of Rights,” would codify the Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock v. Clayton County decision that protects employees against discrimination for being gay or transgender.
The proposal would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly include protections for gender identity and sex characteristics, expand access to gender-affirming care and ban conversion therapy.
It would also require the attorney general to designate a liaison dedicated to overseeing enforcement of civil rights for transgender people and invest in community services to prevent anti-transgender violence.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and co-chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force, said in a statement that the resolution would ensure transgender people can lead “full, happy lives.”
“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,” Jayapal said.
Jayapal introduced the proposal alongside Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Marie Newman (D-Ill.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.). The bill has 84 other co-sponsors.
The bill’s proponents cited Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to an abortion.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion that the court should also consider overturning some of its other precedents decided under the same substantive due process protections at the heart of Friday’s decision, like rights to same-sex marriage and contraception.
The Bostock decision was not mentioned in Thomas’s concurring opinion and involved a different legal question.
But Thomas’s opinion has caught the eye of many Democrats who believe the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is poised to roll back rights extended to LGBTQ people in past cases.
Democrats supporting the bill also pointed to research from the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, showing state legislatures have proposed more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills in the past year.
The bill is supported by more than 30 organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Education Association.
“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,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, the National Center for Transgender Equality’s executive director. “We deserve to live as who we are without sacrificing our safety, access to health care or enduring violence and discrimination.”