1st Edition

Transgender Rights
From Obama to Trump

ISBN 9780815359401
Published August 2, 2019 by Routledge
230 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

This book examines the transgender community’s struggle for equality over the last decade, comparing the Obama and Trump administrations’ stance on transgender rights policies. Transgender rights claims have assumed an important place on the nation’s policymaking agenda as society has increasingly become aware that transgender individuals are subject to discrimination because they do not conform to the norms of the gender identity they were assigned at birth. With Congress virtually absent from the policymaking process, the executive branch and the federal courts have been chiefly responsible for determining the parameters of transgender rights policies.

The study contrasts the Obama administration’s efforts to expand equal rights for the transgender community, especially in employment, education, and military service, with the Trump administration’s determination to rescind the Obama-era initiatives. In their efforts to do so, Trump administration officials have urged the courts to reverse decisions extending the benefit of civil rights laws and constitutional guarantees to the transgender community, arguing that gender identity is outside the scope of these protections. Although most federal courts have been inclined to accept the Obama administration’s perspective on transgender rights, ultimately, this will be a matter for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide.

The book is appropriate for students, scholars, and interested general readers.

Table of Contents




1 The Transgender Experience

2 Transgender Rights in the Workplace

3 Transgender Rights in School

4 Transgender Rights in Public Facilities

5 Transgender Rights in the Armed Services



Index of Cases


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Susan Gluck Mezey is a professor emeritus of political science at Loyola University Chicago; she holds a Ph.D. from Syracuse University and a J.D. from DePaul University. Her publications include books on the rights of lesbians and gay men, women’s rights, children’s rights, and the rights of people with disabilities.


This book offers a fascinating presentation of the important recognition of the rights of trans people to dignity and equality—and the enormous threats they face in the current administration.

Lorie Chaiten, former Director of the Women's and Reproductive Rights Project of the ACLU of Illinois

This is an excellent, and much-needed, book. It contrasts the actions of the Obama and Trump administrations, diametrically opposed to each other with respect to the rights of transgender individuals. With thorough research and clear writing, this book will certainly appeal to those with professional or personal interests regarding transgender people. This text should also appeal to those who have scholarly interests related to executive policymaking, as Professor Mezey’s book illustrates the possibilities, and the limits, of policymaking that occurs outside the halls of Congress.

Barry Tadlock, Department of Political Science, Ohio University

Susan Mezey has again delivered a magisterial survey of the fight for LGBTQ rights in our nation's courts with a sweeping, up-to-date analysis of the legal battles waged by transgender people in states and localities and before federal tribunals.

Patrick Egan, Department of Politics, New York University

Recommended. All readership levels.