The Trump administration is readying a new attack on the LGBTQ community to appease the religious right base.
The administration plans to narrowly define the word “gender” to write transgender people out of civil rights protections according to the New York Times.
The Obama administration recognized that the definition of gender is largely self-determined; federal courts have repeatedly ruled that the discrimination against transgender people violates civil rights law that bans gender discrimination.
But the Trump administration’s ongoing attacks on transgender people would radically change the legal definition of “gender” to “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.” Transgender people, therefore, would not be covered under federal law.
“This proposal is an attempt to put heartless restraints on the lives of 2 million people, effectively abandoning our right to equal access to health care, to housing, to education, or to fair treatment under the law,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said.
“This administration is willing to disregard the established medical and legal view of our rights and ourselves to solidify an archaic, dogmatic, and frightening view of the world.”
The Department of Health and Human Services is leading the charge to change the definition, the Times reports, arguing that court rulings and government agencies should determine gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” Any dispute of gender would be judged through genetics testing.
“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,” the agency writes in a draft memo currently being circulated.
The change “would not eliminate the precedents set by dozens of federal courts over the last two decades affirming the full rights and identities of transgender people” according to Keisling.
“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,”said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “This is a direct attack on the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people.”
Keisling had a message for transgender Americans, however, that urges patience and perseverance.
“I know you are frightened. I know you are horrified to see your existence treated in such an inhumane and flippant manner,” Keisling said. “What this administration is trying to do is an abomination, a reckless attack on your life and mine. But this administration is also staffed by inexperienced amateurs overplaying their hand by taking extreme positions that ignore law, medicine, and basic human decency.”
“Transgender people have fought rules like this one in federal and state court and won. We have stood toe-to-toe with administrators, legislatures, and executives who would agree with this rule and yet we won,” she added.
“If this administration is hoping to demoralize us, they will be disappointed. If they are hoping we will give up, they should reconsider the power of our persistence and our fury.”