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Defending and expanding nonbinary and transgender rights

Nonbinary and transgender people should be able to live openly and authentically.


But in reality, they face persistent discrimination in almost every aspect of their lives. The recent spike in hate rhetoric, violence, and anti-trans legislation has made nonbinary and trans people even more vulnerable. 

Lambda Legal helps nonbinary and transgender people navigate thorny legal issues. For example, we work to ensure nonbinary and trans folks have access to identity documents, health care, and inclusive school policies. We work to expand and defend protections for nonbinary and trans people by working to advance protections through local, state and federal public policy initiatives. We also defend nonbinary and trans rights in court—including a recent Supreme Court case that ensured a young trans girl could play on her school sports team.

Cases on transgender and nonbinary rights.

Lambda Legal plaintiff Becky Pepper Jackson
Person waves a transgender flag with the transgender symbol over a crowd
VandyBeth Glenn

Fast Facts


Nearly half of all trans people have reported being mistreated by medical providers 


Transgender people are more than four times as likely to experience violence 

4 in 5

The number of transgender adults who report that discrimination has negatively affected their ability to be hired

Frequently asked questions

  • Lambda Legal is fighting back against these anti-trans and nonbinary attacks in several states, such as Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. We are also monitoring and supporting lawsuits and policies across the country challenging this onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks.

    We have legal challenges battling ongoing efforts to strip health care from transgender and nonbinary people, legal challenges against sports bans, and legal challenges against attempts to censor discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in schools. We are also involved with public policy advocacy all throughout the country. We are providing information to legislators and advocates combatting the junk science being used to promote these bans. We are also providing testimonies in several states and we’re working closely with coalition partners throughout the country.

  • Here’s a list of current Lambda Legal litigation in states:

    Health care access for trans and nonbinary folks:

    • Florida (Dekker, et al., v. Weida, et al): Challenging Florida’s anti-transgender health care rule denying gender- affirming care coverage for transgender Medicaid beneficiaries.
    • Texas (Doe v. Abbott and PFLAG v. Abbott): Challenging Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) attempt to investigate parents who work with medical professionals to provide their adolescent children with medically necessary gender-affirming care. Watch a video by our plaintiffs on this case here.
    • Missouri: (Southampton Community Healthcare v. Bailey) Challenging Missouri’s attempt to restrict access to gender-affirming care for transgender people. As a result of our lawsuit, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey issued an order terminating his anti-transgender emergency rule.
    • Tennessee: (L.W. et al v. Skrmetti et al) Suing the State of Tennessee to block the state’s recently enacted discriminatory ban on medically necessary gender-affirming care for Tennessee’s transgender youth.
    • Oklahoma: (Poe v. Drummond Lawsuit on behalf of a group of five families with transgender adolescents and Dr. Shauna Lawlis of OU Health asserting that SB 613 unjustly and unfairly targets transgender youth for discrimination and interferes with parents’ rights to make decisions about their children’s health care.
    • Montana: (van Garderen v. State of Montana) Lawsuit filed on behalf of two families with transgender youth and two medical providers who work with transgender youth asserting that SB 99 violates their rights under the Montana Constitution, including the right to equal protection and the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.
  • Our opponents have introduced and passed several laws banning transgender youth from participating in school sports. There are 19 states that have banned transgender student-athletes in just the last three years as part of an escalating wave of state-level restrictions on the rights of transgender people. Lambda Legal and our sibling organizations have filed lawsuits in West Virginia, Tennessee, and Idaho challenging these discriminatory bans.

    For example, in West Virginia, Lambda Legal with the ACLU and ACLU of West Virginia filed a lawsuit on behalf of Becky Pepper-Jackson, a 13-year-old transgender girl who wants to join her teammates on the middle school track and field team, and who has done so without incident for four seasons. When a district court judge abruptly reversed himself in January 2023 and dissolved the preliminary injunction he had previously granted allow Becky to join her teammates, we quickly pivoted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which granted a stay on the district court ruling and Becky was able to try out for spring season and rejoin her teammates while the lawsuit continues. The State of West Virginia and its partners with Alliance Defending Freedom then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Fourth Circuit ruling, but the Supreme Court refused in a 7-2 vote.

  • Lambda Legal has a long history of combating efforts to keep transgender students from using school facilities that match their gender identity, including lawsuits dating from 2016 and challenging bans in Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. We are currently challenging a ban in Oklahoma, and are teeing up future challenges as more state consider similar harmful and stigmatizing laws.

  • It’s important to look at the victories that we have won in the courts. Lambda Legal and our sister organizations have blocked enforcement of these discriminatory laws in jurisdictions across the country, including in Texas, Arkansas and Alabama. When courts look at the evidence, the science and the law, we are confident that they’ll rule the right way on these issues. We also take hope from the record number of qualified jurists the Biden administration has nominated, and the U.S. Senate confirmed, to the federal bench. While we continue to see this onslaught of anti-trans legislation, we’re also seeing bright spots in places around the country. Michigan and New Mexico have passed inclusive non-discrimination protections, and Illinois, California, Maryland, and New Jersey have also enacted proactive legislation to protect transgender residents of and visitors to those states.

Your rights

Explore our collection of resources to learn more about transgender rights. Have a specific question that’s not answered below? Visit our Help Desk.