Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness

The United States of America was founded on a notion that Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are essential to all people. These famous words graced the Declaration of Independence when America declared itself free from the tyranny of Great Britain. These words today are fundamental to the ideas of the Libertarian Party. We believe that all people should be able to live their lives however they choose so long as they are not hurting others. However, in the year 2021, many Americans are currently under attack by our government, and are being directly restricted by the government in their liberty to live their lives how they choose in their own pursuit of happiness, even when they are causing no harm to others.

In more than 33 states across the country, legislation is being introduced and enacted to directly subjugate and oppress the rights of a specific group of people from their pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As Libertarians, we believe in fighting for the rights of all people, for if one of us is not free, none of us can be free. That means standing up against the tyranny of discriminatory legislation aimed currently at transgender people.

More than 117 bills in 33 states have been introduced, specifically to cause harm, to discriminate, and to restrict the freedom of transgender people. These bills include restrictions on public bathroom use, restrictions on receiving medical treatment, and restrictions on participating in athletics. Many of these bills are focused on a group already extremely vulnerable and unable to represent themselves, transgender youth.

Regarding medical care, there is already a strong set of standards created by medical professionals called WPATH, the World Professional Association for
Transgender Health. WPATH Standards of Care outline the necessary steps for those who identify as transgender to go through transition. Unlike what many people would have you believe, a person cannot just walk into a doctor’s office and have surgery a week or even a month later, especially minors. Surgeries require the referral of one or two Mental health providers to qualify for surgery, and even then, wait lists average over a year and if covered by medical insurance requires prior authorization. The process is a long and thoughtful one, and quite frankly decisions about it should be left between a
person and their medical providers.

When it comes to transgender individuals using a restroom, it is highly likely you have already shared a restroom with a trans person and did not know it. Nobody likes using public restrooms, as most of them are dirty and uncomfortable. A restroom has a simple purpose, to eliminate bodily waste (and do not forget to wash your hands). There are already laws in place to prosecute individuals who assault, harass, or otherwise harm others in a restroom. There is no need to discriminate against a group of people who have not committed any crimes by excluding them from public accommodations.

In athletics, there are major differences in all people’s anatomy, very few sports take these anatomy differences into account with the exception individual combat sports,. There are men and women of different sizes, shapes, heights, weights, strengths, speeds, and hormonal levels. A person who has taken hormone replacement therapy (known as HRT) as part of their transition experiences significant changes to their body. If fairness is truly the aim of these bills, a standard for testosterone levels is a more appropriate indicator of performance. However, these bills aren’t meant to make competition fair, they’re meant to exclude an entire group of people from participating. When it comes to youth sports, please remember why people participate; fellowship, hard work, discipline, time management, self-esteem, communication are all fundamental skills that athletics teach young people. Disallowing an entire group of people from participating is harmful and sets a dangerous precedent. There is also this fact that all public-school sports are funded in part through federal funding, and governments nor the funding stolen and distributed by the government should ever be used to discriminate. Transgender people and their families are victims of government theft. A private organization’s decisions and rules are their own business; (we recommend looking at the Olympic
model) but public institutions should allow all people to participate.

Quite simply, these bills and legislation are an assault on the liberty of a group of individuals. This legislation is a violation of the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that our nation was founded on. This legislation is a violation of individual liberty and self-ownership. No government, no entity, has the right to discriminate against their constituents. Governments were created to represent all people, without exception. The Libertarian Party believes in self-determination; and the right of the individual to be free from persecution and government restrictions to their life liberty and pursuit of happiness. We call for the condemnation of these bills, and any legislation proposed to discriminate or cause harm against individuals, and will fight with all marginalized communities, including those who identify as transgender, in securing their right to be who they are, live how they choose, and be free from tyranny and oppression. If one of us is not free, none of us are free, and if the government can oppress one group of people, they can oppress all of us.

Ashley Shade


Libertarian Association of Massachusetts &

Outright Libertarians