Effective legislation? a quantitative analysis of state-level gender identity nondiscrimination laws

As of December 2016, there are no federal laws protecting transgender Americans from discrimination. Due to a lack of federal protections and varied attitudes towards trans folks, depending on geographical location, there exists a patchwork of state-level legal protections across the U.S. In spite of several states passing statewide nondiscrimination laws over the past two decades, transgender folks continue to experience high levels of gender identity-based discrimination. Research indicates continued unemployment, poverty, and incarceration due to discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. To examine the effectiveness of state-level legal protections for transgender residents, this thesis conducts statistical tests to examine the relationship between state policy climates and levels of self-reported discrimination in three policy areas: employment, housing, and public accommodations. Using policy data provided by the Movement Advancement Project and discrimination data from the 2008-09 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, Kendall correlations reveal almost no correlation between state-level policy climate and levels of self-reported discrimination.