Democrats introduce “Trans Bill of Rights” in Congress

Hundreds gather in Love Park in Philadelphia in response to the Trump administrations memo defining gender as an unchangable biological characteristic. October 23, 2018.
A transgender rights rally in Philadelphia. Photo: Shutterstock

Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced a “Transgender Bill of Rights” in the House and Senate, just in time for the Transgender Day of Visibility.

“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 Jayapal in a statement. She’s a co-chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force. She is also the mother of a transgender child. There are currently no out transgender people in the U.S. Congress.

“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.”

The bill is a resolution that calls for the federal government to assure transgender people certain rights, including protections from discrimination. The resolution calls for Congress to add gender identity and sex characteristics to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to federal education laws that protect against discrimination.

The resolution also addresses healthcare, calling for measures that protect trans people from discrimination in healthcare, an end to government restrictions on access to gender-affirming care for both young people and adults, an expansion of telehealth, and other measures protecting providers of gender-affirming care from violence in the workplace.

The bill also calls for increased mental health and suicide prevention services for trans and nonbinary people, a ban on conversion therapy, and improved procedures for LGBTQ+ immigrants seeking asylum. The resolution calls for the Attorney General to create a transgender and nonbinary civil rights liaison to oversee the enforcement of these protections.

“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,” Markey said in a statement. “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.”

The bill has five co-sponsors in the Senate and 101 co-sponsors in the House.

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