Lesson Plan

Transgender Rights, Won Over Decades, Face New Restrictions


Transgender people have long faced discrimination in employment, marriage, medical care and other areas, and are far more likely to experience homelessness, unemployment and mental illness than people whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth. Today, ​lawmakers across the country have introduced anti-trans legislation, seeking to bar transgender students from participating in sports and limiting access by minors to gender-affirming medical care. The movement that began nearly half a century ago still faces many obstacles.

Content Advisory:

This lesson covers historical and contemporary demands for equality by transgender people. The film and associated resources address sexuality, violence against transgender people and other topics that may upset or offend some people.


Students will:

  • Identify key events throughout the history of transgender activism in the United States.
  • Evaluate strategies and tactics used by transgender activists by assessing their effectiveness.
  • Analyze contemporary pieces of legislation that address transgender rights and restrictions.
  • U.S. History
  • Civics & Government
  • Current Events
  • U.S. History
  • Civics and Government
  • Cultural and Social Change
  • The Modern Era (1980-Present)
  • LGBTQ+
  • 1960s America
For Teachers

Essential Questions

  • How have transgender rights evolved over time in the United States?
  • What methods and tactics have the transgender community used to gain access to power in the United States?

Additional Resources

Transcript for "Transgender Rights, Won Over Decades, Face New Restrictions"Retro Report 
Milestones in the American Transgender MovementThe New York Times 
Anti-trans bills have doubled since 2022. Our map shows where states stand.The Washington Post 
Over 100 Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws Passed In The Last Five Years — Half Of Them This YearFiveThirtyEight 
Strategies and Tactics VocabularyRetro Report 

Analyze the role of citizens in the U.S. political system, with attention to various theories of democracy, changes in Americans’ participation over time, and alternative models from other countries, past and present.

Evaluate citizens’ and institutions’ effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.

Evaluate social and political systems in different contexts, times, and places, that promote civic virtues and enact democratic principles.

Evaluate multiple procedures for making governmental decisions at the local, state, national, and international levels in terms of the civic purposes achieved.

Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.

Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.

Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.

Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.

Analyze change and continuity in historical eras.

Analyze how historical contexts shaped and continue to shape people’s perspectives.

Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.

Questions? Tips? Concerns? Reach out to our Director of Education, David Olson: dolson@retroreport.com