How Nonprofits Can Stand Up to Anti-Trans Legislation


Mallory Morales


LGBTQ+ Americans

Progressive activists have been working overtime to fight the high-volume of anti-trans bills introduced across the country this year. The ACLU reports that more than 400 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced and are active in our legislatures. Many of these bills are directly targeting the care, safety, and wellbeing of our transgender youth.

We all have a duty and responsibility to act in defense of trans lives. Nonprofits especially must leverage their knowledge, power, and resources to fight alongside the 1.6 million transpeople living in America whose rights and lives are being threatened by extremist politicians.

Here are just a few ways your nonprofit can stand up to anti-LGBTQ bills.


Organizations like the Equality Federation and the ACLU have been diligently tracking anti-trans legislation. See State Legislation | Equality Federation and Mapping Attacks on LGBTQ Rights in U.S. State Legislatures | American Civil Liberties Union ( Your nonprofit can help spread the word and educate your constituents about the influx of hateful and dangerous legislation.

Nonprofits can also play a valuable role in educating the public on a wide range of issues, from the beauty and power of trans art and expression, to the importance of gender-affirming care. Educating and elevating stories of trans liberation is a valuable way to combat misinformation spread by the extremist right-wing.


501(c)(3) public charities can lobby against anti-trans legislation. Lobbying involves influencing legislation and can include contacting legislators for the purpose of supporting or opposing legislation or urging the public to contact their legislators for the purpose of supporting or opposing legislation. Please see our factsheets to learn more about the definitions of lobbying for charities that have made the 501(h) election and those operating under the insubstantial part test.

Nonprofits can work with Bolder Advocacy to ensure their legislative advocacy is done safely within the IRS legal limits as well as strategies on how to maximize their lobbying potential.

In addition, our Practical Guidance Series is designed to help nonprofits understand the rules around lobbying registration and reporting requirements at the state-level.

Hold Elected Officials Accountable

Although 501(c)(3)s are prohibited from supporting or opposing the re-election of elected officials, they can build accountability into their advocacy campaigns. This can include publishing annual legislative records of all legislators’ voting history. It can also include using the organization’s voice to thank the legislators who voted in line with the organization’s advocacy agenda, and to criticize those who did not. For more information about how to engage in nonpartisan accountability advocacy, please check out our factsheet here.

Organize and Spread the Word on Rallies and Protests

Organizing trans and queer protesters and their allies is a powerful advocacy tool that reminds politicians that queer and trans people are here to stay. For example, organizers at NYC Youth for Trans Rights organized a powerful Trans Day of Visibility Rally last month.

Foundations Can Fund Trans-Led Organizations, Including Advocacy Organizations

Public and private foundations can play a role in supporting the advocacy efforts of their grantees in a myriad of ways. Directing grant dollars to LGBTQ-led organizations is essential to meaningful and long-term mission success. If your foundation wants to learn more about how it can support advocacy, contact Bolder Advocacy and check out our resource Investing in Change. Foundation grantees can learn more about the advocacy rules that apply to their funders by reviewing our guide entitled Foundation Advocacy Grants: What Grantees Need to Know.

Join Alliance for Justice in Its Mission to Build a Progressive Judiciary

The legislative attacks on LGBTQ people living in this country reflect just one part of the equation. When dangerous and unlawful bills pass in the legislature, Americans should be able to rely on the judiciary to protect transgender people and uphold the Constitution.

Alliance for Justice’s Justice program is dedicated to protecting our democracy through the court system. Learn more about our work here.

Trans liberation means liberation for everyone. Progressive nonprofits everywhere must stand up against hate and join in the fight.