The New York Times has reported that the Trump administration is currently looking to limit the legal definition of gender, thereby curbing protections for transgender and non-binary Americans.
According to a memo obtained by the Times, the Department of Health and Human Services is proposing that government agencies consider a legal definition of sex under Title IX, which would only consider gender as being determined by someone’s genitalia at birth.
The memo says, “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth. The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”
It’s a step away from Obama-era decisions that helped to recognize gender in federal programs as an individual’s choice. The Times reports the new definition would erase federal recognition for an estimated 1.4 million transgender Americans, making it the most significant move in the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to attack the rights of transgender people. (The Trump administration has attempted to block transgender people from serving in the military and some agencies have removed policies that recognized gender identity in places like schools and prisons.)
The Department of Health and Human Services is looking for the Departments of Education, Justice, and Labor, to adopt the definition, and health and human services could formally present the definition to the Justice Department by the end of 2018. The Justice Department then decides if the change is legal and therefore could be enforced in government agencies.
After the Times reported on the memo, transgender people and allies took to Twitter with the hashtag #WontBeErased, voicing their fight again the Trump administration. People posted photos of themselves along with rallying cries for all transgender and non-binary Americans:
i'm a trans person who's dedicated their life to fighting for trans rights. we haven't come this far to only come this far, and we #WontBeErased. follow @TransEquality to stay up to date on what you can do to fight back as well. pic.twitter.com/xFArrvur10- Jay H. Wu #WontBeErased (@jhtripleu) October 21, 2018
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