In another attempt to reduce the rights and protections of transgender people in the United States, the Trump administration is looking to narrowly define gender as being only male or female and unchangeable once determined at birth, a leaked memo has revealed.
The New York Times reported that the administration wishes to limit the definition of gender as a biological condition, determined by a person’s genitalia at birth.
This move would undo the strides made by the previous Obama administration, which loosened the legal understanding of gender on a federal level, largely understanding gender as an individual’s own choice rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.
The US Department of Health and Human Services now wants to establish a legal definition of gender under Title IX, which is the federal civil rights law in the US which bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance.
The memo, which was obtained by the New York Times, argues that there needs to be a strict uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
Many celebrities are vowing to fight the ‘hateful’ plans of the conservative administration. Laverne Cox, the first openly transgender woman to win an Emmy, wrote on Twitter, “We must not give up the fight. But in the face of this affront on my existence and the existence of my community I choose love not fear. We exist and always have.”
We must not give up the fight. But in the face of this affront on my existence and the existence of my community I choose love not fear. We exist and always have.
Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence https://t.co/G4rKB1mVfe
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) October 21, 2018
Billy On The Street star Billy Eichner labelled the move “pure evil” in a tweet.
This is pure evil. Get your friends together and vote like our lives depend on it. Because they do. https://t.co/mri7fM62Dh
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) October 21, 2018
Meanwhile, #TransRightsAreHumanRights began trending, with Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness and trans Sense8 star Jamie Clayton, among others, tweeting the hashtag.
#TransRightsAreHumanRights & they won’t be erased.
— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) October 21, 2018
— Jamie Clayton (@MsJamieClayton) October 22, 2018
gender is a man-made construct and trans people are human beings deserving of all the rights and privileges of humanity.
I’m sick to my stomach for all of my trans friends, fans and family.
I SEE YOU. WE SEE YOU.
I rebuke the Trump Administration#TransRightsAreHumanRights
— Tyler Glenn (@tylerinacoma) October 21, 2018
#TransRightsAreHumanRights because gender is a fluid spectrum and our president’s an idiot
— Megan Miner (@MegaCrunchies) October 21, 2018
Currently, there are around 1.4 million people in the US who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, which is 0.7% of the population.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have since threatened legal action if the Trump administration decides to go ahead with the plans outlined in the leaked memo.
James Esseks, director of ACLU’s LGBT and HIV project said in response to the leaked memo, “This is an attack on the very lives and existence of transgender people.
“It is painful, it is hateful, and it will not go unchallenged. Transgender people have the right to not only exist but to fully participate in public life. Transgender people are real and transgender lives have meaning.
“If the Trump administration moves forward with these hateful and hurtful policies, they will once again be met with opposition in courts and in communities. More and more courts are seeing that policies targeting transgender people have no place in our country. The ACLU will fight back against any efforts to use transgender people as political pawns and continue to seek full equality for transgender and nonbinary people.”
Meanwhile, the National Centre for Transgender Equality in the US said, “To transgender people: we know you are frightened. We know you are horrified to see your existence treated in such an inhumane and flippant manner. This is an abomination, a reckless attack on your lives and ours.”
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