(Daily Beast) — This week was easily the most significant in the history of transgender rights.

In five short days, the federal government came down hard on North Carolina for its prohibitive “bathroom law,” declared that all transgender students in the country should be allowed to use the facilities they wish, and barred health-care providers from excluding transition-related care. For LGBT advocates who have been pushing for these changes for decades, it was an exhilarating and heady series of victories.

But they didn’t happen overnight. In fact, the Obama administration has been quietly moving transgender rights forward for years. Before the struggle for same-sex marriage was even over, federal agencies and departments were bolstering protections for transgender people, piece by piece. Each of this week’s wins can be traced back to an earlier policy.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.