Transgender people face severe discrimination in virtually every aspect of social life-in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, marriage, parenting, and law enforcement, among others (Currah and Minter 2000). 2 This discrimination is rooted in the same stereotypes that have fueled unequal treatment of women, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, and individuals with disabilities-that is, stereotypes about how men and women are “supposed” to behave, and about how male and female bodies are “supposed” to appear (Currah and Minter 2000; Benjamin 1996). For the most part, in other words, antitransgender discrimination is not a new or unique form of bias, but rather falls squarely within the parameters of discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and disability (Holt 1997; Cain 1998; Greenberg 1999). From a strictly philosophical or doctrinal perspective, therefore, it might well seem that the most logical course for social activists would be to seek protection for transgender people through litigation under statutes that already prohibit discrimination on those bases, rather than attempting, legislatively, to create a whole new set of statutory protections (Franke 1999).
In practice, however, litigation alone has proved to be a singularly unsuccessful route to winning basic civil rights for transgender people. With few