The Trump administration is aggressively and systematically rolling back policies that protect transgender people. History teaches that these governmental attacks are not new, but instead represent the latest salvo in a long but losing battle to disparage transgender people, who have been ruthlessly depicted as criminals, deviants, and selfish iconoclasts. Notwithstanding the current administration’s open hostility toward transgender people, constitutional protections endure. This Essay discusses the evolution of government discrimination against transgender people—from laws that criminalized the violation of gender norms in the late twentieth century to the present‐day exclusion of transgender people from the U.S. military—and transgender people’s continued efforts to secure recognition of their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Jennifer L. Levi, Professor of Law, Western New England University Law School & Kevin M. Barry, Professor of Law, Quinnipiac University School of Law. Thanks to Shannon Minter for thoughtful advice; to the Yale Law & Policy Review staff for editorial assistance; and to Danielle Combs, Carmel Joseph, Jeff Kaplan, and Lindsay Preece for research assistance.