Trump wants to redefine 'sex' to allow discrimination against transgender people.
The Trump administration literally wants to define transgender people out of existence when it comes to anti-discrimination law, according to an explosive report by the New York Times.
The Department of Health and Human Services "is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law," the Times reports.
The administration would do this by changing the legal definition of "sex" under Title IX, the federal law that bans gender discrimination in federally funded education programs.
HHS is proposing to define gender "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable," according to a draft memo obtained by the Times.
This determination would be binary — you can only be either male or female, and you have to be labeled as such based on the genitals you're born with. If you disagree with that label, you have to submit to invasive genetic testing.
That could leave transgender students more vulnerable to discrimination in bathrooms and locker rooms, for instance.
But the change could have even farther-reaching implications across the entire federal government for LGBTQ people, according to the Human Rights Campaign:
HHS will likely also encourage other federal agencies to follow suit in their severely restrictive and narrow definition of sex. The administration’s decision could have severe consequences for LGBTQ people across the federal government. For example:
Same-sex couples and their families could be turned away from emergency shelters
A transgender person could have their insurance deny them coverage for transition related care
A gay man could be harassed about being gay at a job skills training
An elderly same-sex couple could be denied in home meal service
A transgender woman could be turned away from a hospital for a broken ankle
The National Center for Transgender Equality responded with a powerful Twitter thread condemning the administration's willingness to "disregard the established medical and legal view of our rights and ourselves."
The center also offered words of support to transgender people, and vowed to defeat the proposal if it becomes law.
"Thousands of us have devoted our lives to protecting you and your families, and our ability to do so is nothing short of a privilege. And we will not lay down now," the organization stated. "Transgender people have fought rules like this one in federal and state court and won. ... We know how to defeat this, and we will do everything we can until every transgender person feels secure in their rights under the law."
The administration's draconian proposal is an attack on the lives and identities of transgender people. It would eliminate gender identity or expression as a protected status, which would fly in the face of court precedents.
It's also part of a broader attack on all LGBTQ people, the Times points out:
For the last year, health and human services has privately argued that the term “sex” was never meant to include gender identity or even homosexuality, and that the lack of clarity allowed the Obama administration to wrongfully extend civil rights protections to people who should not have them.
“Defining ‘sex’ in this narrow language tailored to the talking points of anti-equality extremists is part of a deliberate strategy to eliminate federal protections for LGBTQ people," Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement.
Trump promised on the campaign trail that he would be a friend to LGBTQ Americans. He lied. His administration has instead attacked LGBTQ rights at every possible opportunity, from trying to ban transgender people from serving in the military to rolling back federal anti-discrimination protections.
And this latest plot could be the worst threat to equality yet.
Published with permission of The American Independent.