The Trump administration has rolled back anti-discrimination healthcare protections for transgender people.
The US The Department of Health and Human Services announced the on Friday (12 June) that it was re-wording a 2016 Obama-era protection barring sex discrimination on the grounds of gender identity to "the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology."
The timing of the announcement coincided with US Pride month and the fourth anniversary of the Orlando Pulse mass shooting, which saw 49 people lose their lives at the LGBTQ venue.
LGBTQ rights groups slammed the move, with civil rights group Lambda Legal immediately declaring it would challenge the change in court.
The American Medical Association (AMA) also criticised the change, with thr group's president Susan Bailey saying: "The federal government should never make it more difficult for individuals to access health care, during a pandemic or any other time."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also issued a statement, writing on Twitter: "The Trump admin has issued a rule that will embolden health care discrimination against transgender people, those seeking reproductive health care, and many other individuals who need health care — all while a global pandemic is occurring.
Sam Brinton, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, insisted in a statment that healthcare providers should not feel empowered to discriminate against trans people regardless of the wording.
"Access to quality health care without discrimination is critical right now, and thankfully, whatever this new rule may say, LGBTQ people are still protected under the law", they said.
"This rule sends a dangerous and confusing message to health care providers at the worst possible time.
"In the midst of a global pandemic with serious implications for the LGBTQ youth The Trevor Project serves, the last thing our nation needs is for the Administration to suggest, contrary to the plain language of the Affordable Care Act, that medical care providers don't have to treat transgender and nonbinary people with the same care and respect as everybody else."