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Trump administration wants to abolish transgender rights

Trump's Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to redefine gender "as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth".

By Fabio Crispim

The Trump administration is looking to legally abolish transgender people on a federal level by redefining gender as a “biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth”. 

According to a memo acquired by the New York Times, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Service has proposed to define gender under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of gender in educational institutions. 

The move would roll back the definition changed by the Obama administration to reflect gender as an individual’s decision and would “eradicate federal recognition” of around 1.4 million transgender Americans. 

The proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable and determined by the genitals that a person is born with and any dispute about someone’s sex would have to be clarified with genetic testing. 

Catherine E. Lhamon, who led the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights under the Obama administration, said: “This takes a position that what the medical community understands about their patients – what people understand about themselves – is irrelevant because the government disagrees.” 

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: “Setting a destructive precedent, the Trump-Pence administration intends to erase LGBTQ people from federal civil rights protections and eviscerate enforcement of non-discrimination laws.

“Defining ‘sex’ in this narrow language tailored to the talking points of anti-equality extremists is part of a deliberate strategy to eliminate federal protections for LGBTQ people. This is a direct attack on the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and, if this administration refuses to reverse course, Congress must immediately take action by advancing the Equality Act to ensure that LGBTQ people are explicitly protected by our nation’s civil rights laws.” 

The Department of Health and Human Services is preparing to formally present the new definition to the Justice Department before 2019. If the department decides the change is legal, it could be enforced across the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor. 

This is the latest attack on transgender people by the Trump administration. Trump had attempted to ban trans people from serving in the military, worsened protections for transgender people in health care and even rescinded a memo protecting trans workers.