Report: Trans Defense Campaign

August 24, 2022

This year, in addition to our usual planning, coaching and other legislative support work, Equality Federation launched the Trans Defense Campaign to demonstrate the unified power of the state-based movement to defeat anti-transgender bills and win public support for transgender people. 

In 2022, state legislatures introduced 110 anti-trans bills—from athlete bans to bathroom bills, from “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” school bills to medical care bans. These bills predominantly targeted trans youth and were rooted in disinformation and discrimination. The impact of these bills and the dehumanizing discourse advanced in legislative hearings and in the media is devastating for transgender people, their families, and our community as a whole. 

We and our state and national partners continue to work together to protect trans rights and assert that trans people belong. In schools, in public spaces, everywhere. 

Through the Trans Defense Campaign:

  • Equality Federation supported our state partners with over $361,000 in direct cash grants, rapid response mobilization through calls and texts, and messaging and communications toolkits and support.
  • We helped our state partners defeat 87% of the 330 total anti-LGBTQ+ bills. 
  • Of the 110 anti-trans bills introduced, only 16 passed. 

Learn more about the Trans Defense Campaign

$306,200 in direct cash grants to our state partners

24 states received flexible grants to meet the moment and prepare for their 2022 legislative sessions. Our state partners know best how to use resources, and we trusted them to know how to put these funds to work for their legislative advocacy. 

11 state partners accessed our C4 Rapid Response fund for states facing anti-transgender fights in their legislative advocacy. These funds supported activities like hosting and providing transportation for lobby days and creating text programs to organize communities to fight against anti-trans bills.

11 state partners utilized our Healing Justice Fund, which provided tangible support to address the harm and trauma of the legislative session. With these funds, state partners were able to have mental healthcare professionals on-site during advocacy days, provide a trauma training program to staff, and host community yoga and meditation classes.

Rapid response mobilization through paid phone and text programs

We created a Call Fund to support state partners during legislative sessions. We worked with each state partner to create a list of contacts using our predictive voter model of LGBTQ+ supporters, set up the campaign with our external vendor, and activated constituents to contact their representatives. Through this fund, we were able to:

  • Set up 23 different call campaigns across 16 states
  • Have over 21,000 conversations
  • Generate 4,250 messages to legislators

In total, we supported our state partners with $55,000 through our Call Fund to kill 14 anti-transgender bills in 11 states, from athlete bans to healthcare bans and panic defense bans to anti-trans education bills. In the states where we ran call campaigns, only three anti-transgender bills passed.

Messaging and communications toolkits and support

In addition to our regular messaging and communications support, we retained a top strategic communications firm to support our state partners to sound the alarm on anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-transgender political attacks at the state and national levels and to insert advocate voices and critical messages into coverage. The firm also provided intensive communications support to nine state partners in Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Every tactic we employed helped to build the long-term capacity of our state and national partners. We are continuing to coordinate our State Policy Group, a national communications coordination committee, and a quarterly state-level response cohort. We are united and working to move beyond this challenging moment and toward the world we all want to see. Support the work to protect LGBTQ+ rights and win equality in all the places we call home.

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