Support for LAist comes from
Made of L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Civics & Democracy

How The Reversal Of Roe V. Wade Could Affect The Transgender Community

Two people in masks in front of the Supreme Court building, one holds a sign reading: National Center for Transgender Equality
Alexis Rangel and D. Ojeda protest in front of the Supreme Court.
Courtesy D. Ojeda)
Support your source for local news!
The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

Monday night was like any other for Alexis Rangel.

"I was at home doing my best to relax and, you know, have a nice dinner," she said.

Then the news broke that a majority of Supreme Court justices were poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, and suddenly Rangel's evening plans changed.

"Abortion rights and reproductive rights in this decision are about trans rights," she said.

Support for LAist comes from

Rangel is a policy counselor at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), where she advocates for transgender rights at the federal and state levels.

"We have to recognize that this decision will impact trans folks," she said, "particularly trans men and nonbinary folks who need access to reproductive health care and abortion specifically."

A sense of urgency brought Rangel near the steps of the Supreme Court for a midnight protest on Monday, and she said she planned to keep up the momentum.

Activists and supporters of the LGBTQ community say any decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could have significant consequences for vulnerable groups if privacy-related rights like access to contraception or gender-affirming care are threatened.

Notion of privacy 'thrown into question'

It is a concern that President Joe Biden has repeatedly raised since the draft opinion was first published by Politico, saying the issue is "a lot bigger than abortion." He named LGBTQ rights and contraception rights as those specifically at risk.

"What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that's existed in American history — in recent American history," Biden said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, he said he believed the reasoning in the draft decision "would mean that every other decision related to the notion of privacy is thrown into question."

The leaked draft asserts that's not true.

Support for LAist comes from

"To ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right," wrote Justice Samuel Alito. "Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedent that do not concern abortion."

Still, rights activists aren't convinced and are now energized to take action across the country.

When states like Texas began stripping access to abortion, Maryland resident Mickey Goldberg decided to change her protesting strategy. She started giving more money to Planned Parenthood.

"And it helps, but it's not enough," she said. So she went a step further.

"I'm now giving to Texas Planned Parenthood, specifically to a fund that enables women to leave the state and get an abortion when they need one," Goldberg said.

She was one of hundreds of people who protested at the Supreme Court this week, where D. Ojeda also rallied.

Ojeda is a senior national organizer for NCTE and said she felt the attacks on other rights were already starting.

A person holds the multi-colored flag representing transgender rights in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
D. Ojeda protesting near the Supreme Court in response to the leaked draft opinion.
Courtesy D Ojeda)

"The same tactics that we're seeing on the attacks of abortion care are the same tactics we're seeing with gender-affirming care and access to gender-affirming care," Ojeda said, adding, "the attacks are on our health care providers, and then our vital body autonomy."

The 'violence' of forced pregnancy

The NCTE is mobilizing at the local, state and federal levels, speaking to lawmakers about the impact a reversal could have for the transgender community. They are also calling on the U.S. Senate to pass the Equality Act, a bill that would expand protections for the LGBTQ community.

"Mobilization is actually working in solidarity with each other," Ojeda said.

"There's a level of violence that comes from forcing people to be pregnant," she said, noting that there's "another layer" for people who are transgender and may have gender dysphoria.

The stakes are as high as they are clear, said Cathryn Oakley, senior counsel at the Human Rights Campaign.

"The court is opening the door to having things like contraception be put at risk," she said.

The Human Rights Campaign is calling for advocacy at the local and national levels.

"What we really need now is outrage, anger and action for those among our community who are about to see the most destructive attack on our civil rights in a generation," Oakley said. "And we need to fight back by showing up, by being in the streets, by protesting for ourselves and the LGBTQ-plus community and in solidarity with other folks who are having critical civil rights protections stripped away."

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling this summer.

What questions do you have about Southern California?
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Most Read