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Abstract

This paper investigates how employing neoliberal discourses of equal rights, anti-discrimination laws, and hate crime legislation limits the advancement of equality and protection for trans persons under the law. The push for the legal recognition of trans persons, through the addition of "gender identity" and "gender expression" to anti-discrimination and hate crime laws relies on neoliberal discourses of biological determinism and medicalization. This approach ultimately pathologizes trans persons and precludes their self-determination. As the trans community continues to gain rights in Canada and the United States, a backlash of anti-trans “bathroom bills” threaten to restrict trans persons from sex-segregated spaces that align with their gender identity. Moreover, hate crime legislation focuses on individual perpetrators, reinforcing systemic forms of transphobia and state-sanctioned violence against trans persons. In order to guarantee that trans persons have equal access to state services and are protected from discrimination and violence, systems of power must be dismantled and reimagined.