7 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 37 (2000-2001)
Unprincipled Exclusions: The Struggle to Achieve Judicial and Legislative Equality for Transgender People; Currah, Paisley; Minter, Shannon

handle is hein.journals/wmjwl7 and id is 45 raw text is: UNPRINCIPLED EXCLUSIONS: THE STRUGGLE TO
ACHIEVE JUDICIAL AND LEGISLATIVE EQUALITY FOR
TRANSGENDER PEOPLE
PAISLEY CURRAH AND SHANNON MINTER*
ABSTRACT
This Article examines recent efforts to enact civil rights
statutes for transgender people in the United States. Part I
provides an overview of the largely negative case law on the issue
of whether transgender people are protected under existing sex,
sexual orientation or disability discrimination laws. This context
is provided, in part, to explain why transgender rights advocates
have turned to the legislative branches of government to secure
basic civil rights protections.        Part II describes the initial
successes that have been achieved as a result of this new focus on
political activism and legislation. Part III examines the actual
statutory language that has been used to protect transgender
people, as well as some of the key strategic questions that have
arisen in the course of drafting such legislation.
I. UNPRINCIPLED EXCLUSIONS: THE SHORT UNHAPPY LIFE OF
TRANSGENDER JURISPRUDENCE
Transgender' people face severe discrimination in virtually
every aspect of social life--in employment, housing, public
* Paisley Currah, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Brooklyn
College of The City University of New York; B.A., 1987, Queen's University at Kingston,
Canada; M.A., 1992, Ph.D., 1994, Cornell University. Shannon Minter, Senior Staff
Attorney, National Center for Lesbian Rights; B.A., 1983, University of Texas at Austin;
J.D., 1993, Cornell Law School. We thank Jennifer L. Levi and Liz Seaton for help with
the work upon which this Article was based, and Monica Barrett, Robin Gilbrecht and
Courtney Joslin for their comments on earlier drafts. Paisley Currah's work researching
and writing this Article was supported by a fellowship from the Wolfe Institute for the
Humanities at Brooklyn College and a grant from the PSC-CUNY Research Foundation.
i. This Article uses the term transgender in its most inclusive sense, as an umbrella
term encompassing: pre-operative, post-operative and non-operative transsexual people;
cross-dressers; feminine men and masculine women; intersexed persons; and more
generally, anyone whose gender identity or expression differs from conventional
expectations of masculinity or femininity. In contrast, some legal scholars have used the
term more narrowly, as a synonym for transsexual. See, e.g., Chai R. Feldblum, Sexual
Orientation, Morality, and the Law: Devlin Revisited, 57 U. PITT. L. REV. 237, 238 n.1
(1996) (defining transgender people as those who desire to change their gender, are in
the process of changing their gender, or have completed the process of changing their

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