For immediate release | June 23, 2020

ALA statement affirming the rights of transgender people

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA), and particularly its Rainbow Round Table, unequivocally and emphatically stands in solidarity with its transgender staff and members, transgender library workers, transgender library users, transgender authors, and the transgender members of the communities we serve. As an organization committed to social justice, ALA seeks to support all transgender people, and in particular, those who are vulnerable or at risk of discrimination, including supporting the specific needs and perspectives of transgender people who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, transgender people in sex work, transgender migrants and asylum seekers, intersex people (who may or may not identify as trans), transgender children and youth, senior transgender people, and transgender people with disabilities.

ALA celebrates the recent Supreme Court decision recognizing the workplace equality of all people and categorically rejects all statements and actions intended to invalidate, harm, erase, and oppress transgender people’s identities and lives.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are embedded within the work of ALA. Discrimination based on gender identity or expression is damaging to the health of children, families, and society. Libraries must actively affirm and support the safety and rights of transgender people.

ALA condemns violence against transgender people and honors the lives of transgender people killed due to their identity. ALA mourns the recent deaths of Jayne Thompson, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem'mie” Fells, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Layla Pelaez Sánchez, Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, Johanna Metzger, Lexi, Monika Diamond, Yampi Méndez Arocho, Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, and Dustin Parker.

ALA affirms that diverse gender expressions, regardless of gender identity, and diverse gender identities, including nonbinary, are normal and positive variations of the human experience.

ALA urges all library workers and library stakeholders to refer to transgender individuals by their stated pronouns and names.

ALA encourages library leaders and staff to create safe environments for gender diverse, transgender, and intersex library users, allowing everyone access to facilities, activities, and programs that are consistent with their gender identity and where possible providing gender-neutral restroom options for individuals who would prefer to use them; and safe spaces for dialog that allow for intellectual freedom as well as the safety for all members of the community, including trans, non-binary, and gender diverse people.

ALA also encourages library workers to serve as allies and advocates for gender and sexual orientation diverse children and adolescents in schools, including advocating for the inclusion of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation in all relevant school district policies, especially anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies.

ALA urges all members and member organizations, members of the wider LIS community, and library institutions everywhere to incorporate the rights of transgender people within their intersectional social justice frameworks and to actively seek out and work with other stakeholders with vested interests in protecting the rights of transgender people.


Stephanie Hlywak


American Library Association

Communications and Marketing Office

(312) 280-5042