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This Lawyer Is Fighting a Deeply Personal Battle for Trans Rights

Transgender attorney Chase Strangio is leading the battle against laws that he says want to "eradicate" him. 

Chase Strangio, ACLU lawyer posing for a portrait in his residence at Jackson Heights, Queens.Tuesday, 15th March Queens, NY
Chase Strangio, ACLU lawyer posing for a portrait in his residence at Jackson Heights, Queens.Tuesday, 15th March Queens, NYPhotographer: Amir Hamja/Bloomberg

Chase Strangio was tired. 

For more than two weeks, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer had been working with staff almost around the clock to challenge an order from the governor of Texas directing state agencies to investigate parents or doctors who provide gender-affirming care for minors. After more than 6 hours of arguments, a state judge late Friday issued her ruling:  an injunction that blocks any such probes while the lawsuit proceeds.

It was a major, if temporary, win at a time in which transgender issues are increasingly becoming a lightning rod for conservative politics.   According to one group tracking the measures, 25 bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year to prohibit or limit gender-affirming health care for children. In some states, the fight is over the participation of transgender kids in school sports.

Strangio, 39, is fighting as many of these efforts in court as he can. “A record numbers of bills are being introduced and passing, and the breadth of the cruelty keeps increasing,” he said in a phone call from the New York apartment where he’s been working from home and co-parenting his 9-year-old child.