Taking Action for Trans* Rights: Our Favorite Tools, Resources, and Data

Trans* is an inclusive term, which describes gender expansive people. In general, Transgender and Nonbinary (TGNB) People are individuals whose gender identity and expression are different from the cisgender norms most commonly accepted in our society. TGNB references a diversity of nuanced human identities, including: Transgender, Nonbinary, Intersex, Genderqueer, Gender Non-Conforming (GNC), Two Spirit, Agender, Bigender, Gender Fluid, Gender Flux, Questioning, and many more.

During the 2023 legislative session, a total of
556 anti-trans bills were introduced across 49 states. Today, 80 of these have passed, 372 are still active, and 271 are considered advancing by the ACLU. This new wave of legislation—referred to as attempted genocide, “a death sentence,” and an attempt to “erase trans people from existence”—targets gender-affirming healthcare, public expression of gender, and access to public facilities. In states like Florida, extensive bans have already been implemented, impacting gender expression (including clothing, makeup, and theatrical performances), gender-affirming care (including widely-accepted best practices and use of social interventions like proper pronouns and names), classroom discussions of gender and orientation (including basic explanations of consent and personal pronouns), and public facility access for people perceived to be non-cisgender. Across the United States, transgender and nonbinary people have mobilized alongside key organizations, the wider LGBTQ+ community, and allies to combat deeply oppressive legislation. 

This collection is designed to support changemakers taking action for trans rights. Transgender and nonbinary people—especially trans women of color—have been cornerstone leaders in movements for equal rights and justice, including advocating for LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and disabled people. Advocating for trans rights includes acknowledging the leadership that trans and nonbinary people have taken, following their current leadership, and working to address the intersectional systems of oppression (racism, cissexism, ableism, poverty, etc.) where transphobia exists. In partnership with transgender and nonbinary leaders, we can not only halt attacks on marginalized communities, but also restore basic human and civil rights to our nation as a whole. 

Below, explore our favorite tools, toolkits, resources, datasets, maps, policy briefs, and stories related to trans rights, justice for transgender and nonbinary people, and key intersectional topics. Because trans rights impact every aspect of life—including life for non-trans people—action can take many  forms.

Key action areas to start with include:

  • Gender, belonging, and health
  • Gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary youth
  • Self-determination Intersex children
  • Trans and nonbinary adults’ right to self-determination, self-expression, and full autonomy over their bodies

Gender, belonging, and health

What we know
What is happening now
What we can do

[TGNB] health is dependent upon not only good clinical care but also social and political climates that provide and ensure social tolerance, equality, and the full rights of citizenship. Health is promoted through public policies and legal reforms that promote tolerance and equity. -World Professional Association for Transgender Health

  • Advocates are deeply concerned about the impacts of the current national climate on the already rising suicide rates among transgender youth—especially Black transgender and nonbinary youth

  • Many transgender and nonbinary people across the U.S.—especially TGNB youth—are looking for ways to leave their home states to find clinics still providing gender-affirming care

  • Trans and nonbinary people taking hormones as part of their medical transition who live in states that have banned hormone therapy are being forced to detransition, unless they are able to safely travel to a nearby state to continue therapy

  • Insurance coverage is disrupted for many transgender and nonbinary people, increasing barriers to care access and disproportionately high costs for TGNB people

  • Bans on discussing gender or orientation in schools, using proper pronouns, and accessing public facilities all diminish TGNB peoples’ sense of belonging, widening health inequity

Screen capture of 2023 Anti-Trans Bills Tracker
2023 Anti-Trans Bills Tracker
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Illustration of six people standing side-by-side, each with a different color shirt (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) and their pronouns written across their chest.
Beyond Inclusion: Pronoun Use for Health and Well-Being
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Lego people in progress pride flag colors
Counting All in Our Communities: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons

Gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary youth

What we know
What is happening now
What we can do

    • Gender-affirming care (GAC) is accessed by people of all ages and genders, and includes a wide range of social and medical interventions. For cisgender people, this might look like a young woman seeking treatment for the removal of dark body hair, a 9-year-old girl beginning hormone blockers to pause early menstruation, or an adult man undergoing hormone therapy to boost low testosterone levels.
    • For trans and nonbinary people, gender-affirming care is an often life-saving measure that prevents suicide and has helped reduce the disproportionately high rate of suicidal ideation, behaviors, and attempts among gender expansive people, especially children and youth
    • GAC for TGNB youth includes using correct personal pronouns and names and adjusting clothing and outward gender expression to match a person’s true gender. It can also include hormone blockers, which pause hormonal development and give youth time to learn about themselves and their bodies, and a range of other non-surgical healthcare options.
    • GAC does not include invasive surgeries for young children 
    • Gender-affirming surgery for minors is uncommon (in 2020 only 203 minors received gender-affirming surgeries) and requires both prior therapy and parental consent. In contrast, cosmetic surgeries for minors do not require prior therapy and are significantly more common (in 2020, 3,200 girls ages 13 to 19 received cosmetic breast implants and another 4,700 had breast reductions.)

          • 13.2% of transgender youth are currently at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care
          • 30.9% of transgender youth now live in states that have banned gender-affirming care
          • In addition to barring youth from GAC, some state laws intend to force trans youth to detransition
          • The current wave of bills limit healthcare provided only to people with marginalized gender identities and are not contesting gender-affirming care for cisgender people or cosmetic surgeries for cisgender minors

                • Advocate for gender-affirming care for all people, especially trans and nonbinary youth
                • Educate yourself, your community, and your organization on what gender-affirming care is, what it includes, and what it does not include
                • Add protective policies and procedures in workplaces to support TGNB youth
                • Fund, improve, and increase access to healthcare and mental healthcare for children and youth, regardless of gender or perceived gender
                • Talk to children and youth in your life about allyship and acceptance
                • Learn more about activism in schools and care facilities

                Self-determination for Intersex children

                What we know
                What is happening now
                What we can do
                • In the mid-1900s, doctors began routinely performing surgeries on intersex infants and children to make them appear more “normal” by binary gender standards. These surgeries are still happening today, despite not being medically necessary and being widely condemned by the Intersex community

                • LGBTQ+ advocates have been working for decades to ban non-consensual, often irreversible surgeries on Intersex infants and children who are too young to understand information and decisions regarding their own bodies, medical care, gender, and needs

                • All children—including intersex, transgender, nonbinary, and cisgender—deserve the opportunity to determine their own expression and identity, which includes the right to understand and consent to non-emergent medical procedures

                • While current anti-trans legislation claims to protect children who are ‘too young’ to make gender-related decisions for themselves, more than two-thirds of the current anti-trans bills explicitly include exemptions for surgery that assigns minors who are born intersex as "male" or "female"

                  • End involuntary, unnecessary gender reassignment and sterilization surgeries of intersex infants and children
                  • Include the Intersex community and Intersex voice in all discussions, policies, and programs related to gender, gender-affirming care, reproductive health, LGBTQ+ justice, cultural responsiveness, and care services in general
                  • Center intersectionality and coalition-building between the reproductive justice, disability justice, and LGBTQ+ justice movements

                  Trans and nonbinary adults’ right to self-determination, self-expression, and full autonomy over their bodies

                  What we know
                  What is happening now
                  What we can do
                  • Both social and medical transition have significant positive impacts on the health and mental health outcomes of transgender and nonbinary adults

                  • Hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries are two ways that TGNB people alleviate gender dysphoria and align their outward appearance with their true gender identity

                  • In general, very few adults regret having gender-affirming surgery (a study on regret after gender-affirming surgery found that 99.7% of trans individuals were satisfied with their surgery), while thousands of non-GAC cosmetic surgery patients are unhappy with their results (many doctors devote up to 50% of their practice to revision surgeries).

                  • Current research shows that 5-15% of people interested in cosmetic surgeries may have body dysmorphic disorder, yet no additional restrictions are being suggested to assess cisgender peoples’ mental health prior to undergoing cosmetic surgery

                  • Transgender and nonbinary adults should have the same rights, liberties, opportunities, and access that cisgender adults have, including the right to self-expression, self-determination, and full autonomy over their bodies and medical care

                    • Some states are working to ban care for transgender adults up to 26 years of age
                    • New restrictions on hormone therapy and other gender-affirming care is causing clinic closures, impacting trans and nonbinary people of all ages
                    • In contradiction with legislation based on the concept of preserving fertility, many states banning trans-affirming care still allow for coerced and nonconsensual sterilization of people who are disabled, incarcerated, and/or detained im/migrants
                    • Many of these states (including states banning gender-affirming care for trans people) still require transgender and nonbinary people to have proof of surgery for identification document updates

                      • Trans and nonbinary people are people! Advocate for equity, justice, and well-being for Transgender and Nonbinary people
                      • Reinstate the right for adults to make their own medical decisions regardless of their gender or perceived gender
                      • Advocate for all states to accept transgender and nonbinary peoples’ identification document updates without proof of surgeries
                      • Learn about moving beyond allyship and partnering with trans and nonbinary people to create positive change across critical systems, including places of work, education, and power

                      Please reach out with any suggested actions, resources, stories, or tools you think should be included here. We are committed to advancing equity and justice for transgender and nonbinary people. We would love to hear from you and partner in this work together.


                      Serin Bond-Yancey (they/she) is a Disabled, queer, multiply-neurodivergent, antiracist accomplice, and communications, equity, and accessibility professional. They are the Senior Communications and Design Consultant at IP3, and a Staff Editor for Community Commons. 

                      More Tools, Maps, and Data

                       Related Topics

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                      Transgender and Nonbinary People

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                      LGBTQ+ People