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Gender Identity Discrimination as Sex Discrimination

Federal and state law in the United States prohibit sex discrimination in employment, education, housing, places of public accommodation, and other settings. Sex discrimination is discrimination motivated by a person’s sex or gender. This entry discusses the idea that courts and governmental entities charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the United States are increasingly concluding that prohibitions on sex discrimination prohibit discrimination motivated by an individual’s gender identity or expression. Before describing this trend, this entry discusses some background concepts, the prevalence of discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, and the status of laws explicitly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.

Generally in the context of anti-discrimination law, “sex” refers to a person’s biological status and is typically categorized as male ...

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