Transgender discrimination in housing and at work

In the USA, there are laws about transgender discrimination in housing and at work. Trans people cannot be fired, refused employment, or turned away from housing because they are trans. Learn about transgender safety and rights at work and in housing. Find out where to get legal advice and help.

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Photo: iStock/Kate Sept 2004

Specific transgender rights are different in each state. But there are some laws about transgender discrimination that are the same all over the USA. 

Transgender discrimination at work

You cannot be harassed at work by your staff or other workers. For example:

  • People cannot make jokes or mean comments about trans people.
  • People cannot use the wrong name or pronouns on purpose.
  • People cannot ask rude questions about your body or gender.

You cannot be questioned or fired at work. For example:

  • Your boss cannot question your gender.
  • Your boss cannot fire you because of you are transgender.
  • Your boss cannot refuse to promote you because you are transgender.

You cannot be turned away from the bathroom. For example:

  • Your workplace has to let you use the bathroom you choose.
  • Your workplace may not ask for documents proving your gender to let you use the bathroom.

Read more about trans rights at work. If someone is discriminating against you, make sure to write it down and tell someone what is going on. Learn more about what you can do if this happens.

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Transgender discrimination in housing

Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia support laws that stop transgender discrimination. If you rent or buy property in those states:

  • People cannot ask about your gender or sexual orientation.
  • People cannot turn you away because you are transgender.
  • People cannot force you to leave because you are transgender. If you have a lease or contract, it is legal for you to sta.

If you need to stay at a homeless shelter:

  • People might ask your gender because men and women can be in separate rooms. You have the right to tell them whichever gender you identify as.
  • People cannot ask for medical proof of your gender.

Trans people have been forced out of their homes and turned away from homeless shelters. One of every five transgender people is homeless sometime in their life. Your nearest LGBTQ community center may help you find a shelter that is not listed online. The Ali Forney Center has transitional and emergency housing for LGBTQ youth in several states.

Legal help

Many legal organizations take on cases for people who have experienced transgender discrimination. There are some legal organizations specifically to support the LGBTQ community.

  • Lamda Legal
    Lambda Legal is the biggest national LGBTQ legal aid organization. The Lambda Legal helpdesk can review your case and connect you to local representatives.
  • ACLU
    The ACLU is a legal organization that represents clients for free. It has programs for LGBT rights and represents LGBT people who have been harassed. You can find a local ACLU affiliate in every state.
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
    The National Center for Transgender Equality works to protect all trans rights. It supports more than 80 organizations that represent trans clients. You can find trans legal services in your state.