Demonstration in New York City on Sunday (GLAAD / Twitter)
Protests have met the Trump Administration’s new plans to redefine “sex” so that transgender people are excluded from federal discrimination protection.
According to a New York Times report, this would be the administration’s “most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.”
In a leaked memo, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revealed it will release regulations to legally define the term sex under the Title IX law to only recognise male or female as determined by the genitals that a person was born with.
Title IX bars federal discrimination on the basis of sex, a definition that LGBTQ activists, and increasingly the courts, have said includes diverse gender identities and even sexual orientation.
The New York times claimed that if successful in limiting the reach of the law, the Trump Administration would effectively eradicate federal recognition of an estimated 1.4 million transgender or gender non-binary Americans.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin said the government was about to set “a destructive precedent” that would “erase LGBTQ people from federal civil rights protections and eviscerate enforcement of non-discrimination laws.”
The administration’s decision could have severe consequences for LGBTQ people across the federal government. It could mean they might be turned away from emergency shelters and hospitals and be denied other services because of who they are.
Griffin warned that the HHS’s move will likely encourage other federal agencies to follow suit in their restrictive and narrow definition of sex.
News of the administration’s plans led to “We Won’t Be Erased” demonstrations by LGBTQ and human rights groups in New York City on Sunday and at The White House on Monday.
“Transgender folks: You are valid. You matter. You are loved,” tweeted Lambda Legal. “We will not stop fighting for your rights and you #WontBeErased by this heartless administration. #TransRightsAreHumanRights.”
Since his election, President Trump’s administration has sought to revoke protections for LGBTQ people in America. This has included trying to ban transgender personnel in the military and giving its support for LGBTQ discrimination in schools, employment, healthcare and other services, on the basis of “religious freedom”.