Sen. Smith Joins Push to Introduce Trans Bill of Rights Ahead of International Transgender Day of Visibility

Washington  – Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) joined a group of her colleagues led by Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) in introducing the Transgender Bill of Rights, a landmark resolution to recognize the federal government’s duty in protecting and codifying the rights of transgender and nonbinary people.

Trans and nonbinary people across the United States have faced relentless and escalating attacks on their health, safety, and wellbeing. Since January, state and federal legislators have proposed more than 450 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that restrict health care, ban LGBTQ+ inclusive curricula in schools, exclude trans youth from athletics, and otherwise endanger and harm trans people. These bills are negatively affecting the mental health and physical safety of LGBTQ+ youth, particularly trans youth who have been the primary target of these attacks. In the United States, trans people are four times more likely to face violent attacks than their cisgender peers and more than 40 percent of trans people have attempted to commit suicide.  

“Trans people are facing a torrent of harmful legislation and dangerous rhetoric from people in power. It is past time we come together to defend their dignity, protect them from discrimination, and ensure their safety,” said Senator Smith. “This resolution calls for basic protections for trans people, from ensuring they have the right to bodily autonomy and ethical healthcare, to equal access to public services and accommodations. I will continue working to ensure that our founding principles of civil rights and liberty extend to the trans community.”

“On this and every International Transgender Day of Visibility, we are reminded of our moral obligation to defend the fundamental rights of trans people against the violence, discrimination and bigotry that too often mark their lived experience in our country,” said Senator Markey. “Lives are at stake. The health, safety and freedom of trans people are at stake. Congress must take a stand in the face of dangerous, transphobic attacks waged by far-right state legislatures and once again reaffirm our nation’s bedrock commitment to equality and justice for all.”

“Day after day, we see a constant onslaught of anti-trans rhetoric and legislation coming from elected officials. Today we say enough is enough,” said Representative Jayapal, 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. 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 full, happy lives as their authentic selves.”

Cosponsors in the Senate include Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

Cosponsors in the House include Representatives Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Colin Allred (TX-32), Becca Balint (VT-AL), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Rep. Shontel Brown  (OH-11), Cori Bush (MO-01), Andre’ Carson (IN-07), Troy A. Carter, Sr.  (LA-02), Greg Casar (TX-35), Sean Casten (IL-06), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Judy Chu (CA-28), David Cicilline (RI-01), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Danny K. Davis (IL07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10), John Garamendi (CA-08), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl M. Grijalva  (AZ-07), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Glenn Ivey (MD-04), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Henry C. (“Hank”) Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), William R. Keating (MA-09), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Rick Larsen (WA-02), John B. Larson (CT-01), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), Doris Matsui (CA-07), Jennifer L. McClellan (VA-04), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Morgan McGarvey (KY-03), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Jerrold Nadler  (NY-12), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-31), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Katie Porter (CA-47), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Deborah K. Ross (NC-02), Andrea Salinas (OR-06), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam B. Schiff (CA-30), Adam Smith (WA-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Haley Stevens (MI-11), Mark Takano (CA39), Shri Thanedar  (MI-13 ), Dina Titus (NV-01), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Paul D. Tonko (NY-20), Lori Trahan (MA-03), David Trone (MD-06), Juan Vargas (CA-52), Nydia M. Velázquez  (NY-07), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Nikema Williams (GA-05), and Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24).

Specifically, the Transgender Bill of Rights calls on the federal government to provide protections for transgender and nonbinary people by:

  1. Ensuring that transgender and nonbinary people have equal access to services and public accommodations by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include gender identity and amending Title IX to clarify that it protects students from discrimination based on gender identity and sex characteristics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

A copy of the resolution can be found HERE.

The Trans Bill of Rights is endorsed by Amnesty International USA, Athlete Ally, FORGE, Inc., Gender Justice League, GSBA, Human Rights Campaign, Indivisible, Japanese American Citizens League, Latino Community Fund of Washington State, Lavender Rights Project, LGBTQ Allyship, Movement Advancement Project (MAP), NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Education Association , National Immigrant Justice Center, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, People’s Action, PFLAG National, QLaw Foundation of Washington, Seattle Indivisible, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), TransFamilies, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, True Colors United, Washington Indivisible Podcast, Washington State LGBTQ Commission, and YouthCare.