Transgender people have long faced discrimination in employment, marriage, medical care and other areas, and are far more likely to experience homelessness, unemployment and mental illness than people whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth. Today, lawmakers across the country have introduced anti-trans legislation, seeking to bar transgender students from participating in sports and limiting access by minors to gender-affirming medical care. The movement that began nearly half a century ago still faces many obstacles.
Transgender Rights, Won Over Decades, Face New Restrictions
More than 50 years after the Stonewall uprising marked the birth of a movement for LGBTQ+ rights, transgender activists continue to push for inclusion.
Transgender people have long faced discrimination in employment, marriage, medical care and other areas, and are far more likely to experience homelessness, unemployment and mental illness than people whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth.
The transgender community’s fight for rights in the United States took shape in the 1960s, from a protest at a San Francisco diner popular with transgender women to confrontations with the police at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a milestone in the gay rights movement. Sylvia Rivera, a trans activist and Stonewall veteran, demanded that transgender people be recognized as part of the gay rights movement.
Today, lawmakers across the country have introduced anti-trans legislation, seeking to bar transgender students from participating in sports and limiting access by minors to gender-affirming medical care. The movement that began nearly half a century ago still faces many obstacles.
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- Producer: Bonnie Bertram
- Editor: Anne Checler
- Associate Producer: Victor Couto
- Reporter: Meral Agish
- Reporter: Hillary Hubley
- Update Producer: Sianne Garlick
- Update Producer: Sandra McDaniel
- Update Editor: Heru Muharrar
Students will learn about historical and contemporary demands for equality by transgender people.
- Identify key events throughout the history of transgender activism in the United States.
- Evaluate strategies and tactics used by transgender activists by assessing their effectiveness.
- Analyze contemporary pieces of legislation that address transgender rights and restrictions.
- How have transgender rights evolved over time in the United States?
- What methods and tactics have the transgender community used to gain access to power in the United States?
- Transcript for “Transgender Rights, Won Over Decades, Face New Restrictions” (Retro Report)
- Milestones in the American Transgender Movement (The New York Times)
- Anti-trans bills have doubled since 2022. Our map shows where states stand. (The Washington Post)
- Over 100 Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws Passed In The Last Five Years — Half Of Them This Year (FiveThirtyEight)
- Trans Legislation (Trans Legislation Tracker)
- Strategies and Tactics Vocabulary (Retro Report)
- ACLU Trans Script (American Civil Liberties Union)
- National Council for the Social Studies C3 Framework
- D2.Civ.2.9-12.Analyze the role of citizens in the U.S. political system, with attention to various theories of democracy, changes in Americans’ participation over time, and alternative models from other countries, past and present.
- D2.Civ.5.9-12.Evaluate citizens’ and institutions’ effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
- D2.Civ.8.9-12.Evaluate social and political systems in different contexts, times, and places, that promote civic virtues and enact democratic principles.
- D2.Civ.11.9-12.Evaluate multiple procedures for making governmental decisions at the local, state, national, and international levels in terms of the civic purposes achieved.
- D2.Civ.12.9-12.Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
- D2.Civ.13.9-12.Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
- D2.Civ.14.9-12.Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
- D2.His.1.9-12.Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
- D2.His.2.9-12.Analyze change and continuity in historical eras.
- D2.His.5.9-12.Analyze how historical contexts shaped and continue to shape people’s perspectives.
- D2.His.16.9-12.Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.