Trump Administration Seeking To Erase Transgender Legal Protections
A memo obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services indicated that the Donald Trump White House is planning on rolling back the protections transgender individuals gained during the Obama Administration.
The administration plans on redefining gender solely on a biological basis, thereby tightening the legal description of sex with regards to federal civil rights laws covering discrimination and education.
Details of the memo show that the administration hopes to use the DHHS to set a uniform policy on sex and gender in every government department, and would require questions regarding a person’s gender to be determined by genetic testing.
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” said the department’s 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.”
There are currently an estimated 1.4 million people in the United States who identify as transgender.
With this change in policy, their ability to access education, health care and public services comes under threat, as the change in the legal definition of gender restricts their ability to fight any discrimination they may face when utilizing in federally funded programs.
The standing policy measures put in place by the Former President Barack Obama‘s administration, recognized gender as something generally defined by an individual’s choice.
While this measure was lauded as a positive step towards inclusivity by progressives, many on the right, most notably the evangelical Christian community, were outraged by the perceived attack on traditional values.
This is not the first move by the Trump administration to restrict or repeal Obama-era protections for transgender individuals. In March, President Trump authorized a memo that banned members of the transgender community from serving in armed forces.
The ban, which was based on the recommendations of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, had been blocked by three separate courts prior to the March signing. The ban blocks individuals who have taken steps to transition their gender from serving in the military in any capacity.
“At every step where the administration has had the choice, they’ve opted to turn their back on transgender people,” said Sarah Warbelow, the legal director at the Human Rights Campaign.