Senate confirms anti-LGBTQ lawyer Kyle Duncan to a lifetime judicial appointment

Kyle Duncan has an extensive record combatting civil rights including being the opposing counsel in Gavin Grimm’s case and working to undermine marriage equality

NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today voiced outrage after the Senate confirmed anti-LGBTQ lawyer Kyle Duncan for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which covers Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Duncan has a long ideologically-driven record seeking to undermine civil rights including fighting to undermine marriage equality and targeting transgender rights by defending North Carolina’s infamous anti-transgender law HB2 and serving as the opposing counsel in Gavin Grimm’s case.

“The U.S Senate is standing idly by as President Trump fills multiple branches of the U.S. government with people like Kyle Duncan, whose ideologically-driven record displays that he is a direct threat to LGBTQ Americans,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “Voters are watching and will not forgive Senators who allow President Trump to stack the courts with judges united in dismantling civil rights and rolling back our hard-fought progress.”

Throughout his career, Duncan has relied on the unscientific arguments of anti-LGBTQ hate groups in an attempt to undermine transgender rights, trying to delegitimize transgender identity by calling being transgender a “delusion” and advocating for parents not to support trans kids. This hate-mongering language is a strategy the Trump administration has also adopted in their ongoing efforts to ban open transgender military service. 


  • Represented the Gloucester County, VA school board in its fight to prevent transgender teen Gavin Grimm from using the bathroom that matches his gender identity; Duncan argues that the matter is “really to let gender identity trump all other considerations of sex and privacy.”
  • In a 2016 speech to Heritage Foundation, reportedly bemoaned that “Our federal government is telling us—not merely what it thinks the law is—but what “is a man” and what “is a woman.” Something has gone wrong” (Note: Heritage has since deleted this event from its archives; it was here).
  • Wrote an essay arguing that the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage decision “swept away the value of the democratic process” in states that had put civil rights up to a ballot.
  • As a special counsel represented Louisiana in challenges against the state’s discriminatory marriage ban.
  • Prior the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling claimed such a ruling would “do incalculable damage to our national civic life.”
  • Authored amicus brief arguing against marriage equality.
  • Defended North Carolina’s notorious anti-transgender law, HB2.
  • Represented a birth mother who wished to deny visitation to a same-sex spouse.
  • In making an anti-trans case as a lead counsel in in Carcano v. McCrory, he and his team relied on testimony from anti-trans doctor Quentin Van Meter who insisted that the “ethical and logical” course for trans children is for the “patient and family to rear the child in conformity with natal sex” (pg 211), insisted that “gender identity that does not match natal sex is a mental disorder (pg 215), and advocates for “recovery and a healthy, productive life” for transgender patients referred to him (pg216).