As families grapple with raising transgender or gender-expansive children, one of the most unsettling aspects of the experience can be related to the legal issues they encounter.
Whether trying to stop unfair treatment of their child at school, or having custody threatened by an unsupportive spouse or co-parent, parents facing legal questions rarely have the necessary knowledge to navigate this challenging terrain. As a result, they turn to attorneys and other legal professionals for support and guidance. They may also become involved in local, state or national policy efforts.
Unfortunately, most lawyers and legislators have had little or no experience handling cases involving the complex issues of gender and children. There are most likely few if any resources available to support attorneys or policy advocates in this work. Gender Spectrum has proven an important resource for a variety of legal services providers. We offer a variety of ways to support attorneys, law firms, and other legal organizations in this complex area.
Learn more about Gender Spectrum’s work with legal and policy professionals.
Gender Spectrum Resources
Parent and Family Resources: Legal Considerations
Youth Resources: Your Rights at School
Learn about our professional development opportunities for legal and policy advocates!
Other Online Resources
Schools, Policy and the Law
Know Your Rights: A Guide for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students: information from the American Civil Liberties Union and GLSEN with background on legal protections and strategies to address discrimination at school.
FAQ on the Withdrawal of Federal Guidance on Transgender Students: information from the National Center for Trans Equality on how the 2016 rolling back of federal guidance related to gender and Title IX affects transgender students' legal protections.
Wherever you go to school, you have a right to be safe: information from GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) with tips for dealing with bullying, with specific information for students in New England states.
State law and policy maps: information from GLSEN on state laws and policies on anti-bullying, nondiscrimination, transgender inclusive athletics, and bans on “positive portrayal of homosexuality” in schools.
Model School District Policy on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students and other model policies: model policies from GLSEN that educators can use to affirm the right of all students to be safe, included, and respected in school.
Know Your Title IX: A project of Advocates for Youth with information on the key components of the federal Title IX law, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding.
Developing Policies for Transgender Students on High School Teams: Information from the National Federation of State High School Associations on transgender students and athletics.
ID Documents Center: A one-stop hub from the National Center for Transgender Equality with state-by-state and federal information on identification documents and name and gender change policies.
ID Please CA: Full Guide to Changing California and Federal Identity Documents: a guide from the National Center for Transgender Equality with information for California residents (with links for federal and other information).
Youth in Care and Adjudicated Youth
Safe Havens: Closing the Gap Between Recommended Practice and Reality for Transgender and Gender-Expansive Youth in Out-of-Home Care: a 2017 report by Children’s Rights, Lambda Legal, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy on the laws, policies and strategies to ensure safe and supportive environments for gender diverse youth.
Keeping Transgender and Gender-Expansive Youth Safe in Out-of-Home Care: an American Bar Association article (2017) summarizing the “Safe Havens”report’s findings on federal and state laws and policies on transgender and gender expansive youths' right to be safe while in state custody, identifying policy gaps, and highlighting practical tips from providers.
20 Years of Advocating for LGBTQ Youth in Out-of-Home Care: a 2018 American Bar Association article summarizing the group’s two-decades of advocacy, with links to several resources.
Opening Doors for LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care: A Guide for Lawyers and Judges: a 2008 American Bar Association report for legal professionals.
Restoring Justice: A Blueprint for Ensuring Fairness, Safety, and Supportive Treatment of LGBT Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: a 2014 Center for American progress brief outlining the critical components of model juvenile justice policies that are being implemented around the country, with sample language jurisdictions can use.
State Protections for LGBT Youth in Foster Care and the Child Welfare System: a map with state-by-state information from the Movement Advancement Progress on non-discrimination laws protecting youth in the child welfare system.
Family Law 101: a comprehensive guide from the Transgender Law Center.
Parenting a Transgender or Gender-Expansive Child: How to Protect Your Family Against False Allegations of Child Abuse: advice from a coalition of organizations, including Gendre Spectrum.
Why parents are losing custody of trans and gender non-conforming kids: a 2018 article from the Arizona Republic.
Other Legal Resources
FAQ for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Youth: responses from Lambda Legal on questions around rights for transgender youth.
LGBT Policy Spotlight: Conversion Therapy Bans: an overview from the Movement Advancement Project on laws protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.