The New York Times reported this weekend that the Trump administration is seeking to roll back Obama-era definitions of sex that include an understanding of gender identity, with the aim of defining gender as biological and determined at birth. This would have a profound and terrifying impact on the lives of transgender people, invalidating the lived experiences of 1.4 million trans Americans and leaving open the door to strip away the few protections they’ve been granted.
In a memo obtained by the Times, the Department of Health and Human Services seeks to legally define sex as biological under Title IX, which prevents gender-based discrimination, claiming that the government needs to define gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The current administration would define gender as immutably male or female based on the genitalia recorded at birth, and citizen's disputes about their gender would require genetic testing.
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” read the memo. “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.”
If the key Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor adopt the Department of Health and Human Services' definition of gender, the government's widespread stance would likely impact courts across the country, leaving transgender Americans open to discrimination in all areas of their lives. According to Trump officials, health and human services reportedly hopes to present their definition to the Justice Department by the end of the year.
The news has already exploded across social media, with key figures hoping to illustrate the serious implications this could have on the lives of transgender people in America.
— Trace Lysette (@tracelysette) October 21, 2018
TRANS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS.
I will be speaking at this protest with other incredible, queer voices.
Please, show up for trans rights!
See you tonight! pic.twitter.com/EtYqxIEaIy
— CHELLA MAN (@chellamanart) October 21, 2018
It's time to take action! LGBT2QIAA+ folks and EVERYONE in NYC! Your Queer Family needs you tonight. You lined up for a lottery ticket. Line up for us. Let's show them just how Real we are! 6pm Washington square Park. NYC. pic.twitter.com/5tYeE93kxo
— Peppermint (@Peppermint247) October 21, 2018
This proposal is an attempt to put 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.
— National Center for Transgender Equality (@TransEquality) October 21, 2018
They can try all they want, but they cannot erase us.
— Janet Mock (@janetmock) October 21, 2018
Transgender people have never had a place in society. We have lived in the underground for a reason. The Trump Administration has the power to cause unimaginable harm to us, but we will never be erased, & never stop fighting against oppression. https://t.co/Cas6buIC2t
— Diana Tourjée (@DianaTourjee) October 21, 2018