What You Need to Know About State Laws Attacking Transgender Youth

Across race and place, educators and advocates are coming together to ensure our students have safe and welcoming schools where they can thrive.

Over the last few years, the LGBTQ+ community has won important victories against discrimination. In June 2020, the Supreme Court recognized the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to be free from employment discrimination in Bostock v. Clayton County. Since taking office in January 2021, President Biden has prioritized preventing and combating anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, announcing that children “should be able to learn without worrying whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports” and that people “should be able to access healthcare . . . without being subjected to sex discrimination.”

Download the NEA’s Office of General Counsel memo on LGBTQ+ advocacy.

The Departments of Education and Justice followed up with guidance interpreting federal laws to protect LGBTQ+ youth. And this August, the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services, released a Back-to-School Address for Transgender Students. In the video, leaders from each department declare that the federal government stands behind transgender students and highlight the Dep’t of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’ page of other resources for supporting LGBTQI students, including a resource for Supporting Transgender Youth in School.

In a backlash to this progress, state legislatures across the country introduced a record number of laws attacking transgender youth. Most of these laws either prohibit transgender youth participating in school-related sports on the teams that align with their gender identity or prohibit transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming healthcare. The NEA’s Office of General Counsel is providing this brief memorandum as part of our office’s LGBTQ+ advocacy.