Direct democracy institutions and transgender rights policy Presentation (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Lewis, Dan; Taylor, Jami K; Haider-Markel, Don


  • In the wake of a popular referendum striking down the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), questions have been raised about the ability of the transgender community to advance transgender rights in jurisdictions that allow citizen legislation. In other words, how have direct democracy institutions, such as ballot initiatives and referendums, affected state and local policies related to transgender rights in the U.S.? The extant literature raises concerns about the potential for direct democracy to restrict minority rights and lead to “tyrannical” policy outcomes for minority groups. Given the small size of the transgender population and the relative lack of attention paid to transgender rights issues, it is not clear how direct democracy has affected the development of policy in this area. Examining both state and local institutions, we find that direct democracy has only had a small effect on policy outcomes related to transgender rights. However, the analyses highlight the ways in which direct democracy could be used in the future to shape the political agenda and outcomes related to transgender rights. *


publication date

  • 2017

presented at event