The Trump administration has taken yet another swing at trans people’s quality of life in the United States, this time proposing a rollback of an Obama-era rule that would prevent trans patients from being denied medical treatment.
Although the Obama administration made it explicitly clear that the Affordable Care Act’s protections against sex-based discrimination protected trans people on the basis of their gender identity, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Friday its intentions to rewrite that regulation to narrowly define sex as whichever binary sex (male or female) a patient was assigned at birth, Politico reports.
“Nondiscrimination protections are crucial in ensuring all people have equal access to necessary health care,” a spokesperson for the New York City Anti-Violence Project tells Out. “This is yet another attempt by this administration to enshrine discrimination into our laws and will ultimately put millions of people in danger.”
Under the proposed rule, medical providers could more freely deny hormones, gender-affirming surgeries, reproductive care, and other transition-related surgeries to trans patients — all which already happen at an alarming rate, per the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2015 survey on trans Americans. Combined with the DHHS’ recently proposed “conscience rights” allowing individuals and businesses to deny care to trans patients if they claim it would compromise their moral convictions or religious beliefs — not to mention the Department of Housing and Urban Development's equally recent attack on homeless trans people — its impact will be deeply felt by this already vulnerable population.
“Over the past several years, our country has witnessed severe and escalating violence against TGNC and nonbinary people,” says the AVP spokesperson. “In the past week alone, three transgender women of color lost their lives to homicide. Gutting anti-discrimination protections only serves to put transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary people at further risk for violence.”