#WeWontBeErased: Outcry over memo proposing United States transgender change

Clay Curtis
October 23, 2018

A leaked Department of Health and Human Services memo that describes an effort to redefine sex in federal law as "a person's status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth" spawned a protest in New York City last night and another at the White House this afternoon.

"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", the memo reportedly reads.

"Trans people have been under attack by this administration from day 1 and in state legislatures for years now", said Cox, a transgender woman.

But officials at the department confirmed that their push to limit the definition of sex for the goal of federal civil rights laws resulted from their own reading of the laws and from a court decision.

The policy led to legal challenges concerning bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other areas where gender had previously been identified as either male or female.

It is feared the changes allegedly being proposed could effectively "define out of existence" Americans who now identify as transgender - a community who are said to number at least 1.4 million people. "The court order remains in full force and effect today and HHS is abiding by it as we continue to review the issue". The new definition would not include gender identity or sexuality, effectively denying transgender people civil rights protections.

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Gillum has said repeatedly that the Federal Bureau of Investigation informed him he is not a focus of the probe. Gillum called DeSantis a Trump "stooge" and said the former Congressman has "no relationship with the truth".

Severino previously called the Obama administration's moves part of a "radical gender ideology". Sex would be "unchangeable" and would be determined by the genitals that the person was born with, according to the Times.

UCLA legal scholar Jocelyn Samuels, who ran the HHS civil rights office in the Obama administration, said the Trump administration would be going beyond established law if it adopted the policy in the memo.

HHS will likely need to host a comment period before they change the definitions back to what they once were. It cited a Texas-based federal judge's opinion that the original rule went too far in concluding discrimination based on gender identity is a form of sex discrimination, which is forbidden by civil rights laws.

Throughout Chicago on Monday, transgender people and their allies responded to the news that the Trump administration is considering eliminating federal recognition for transgender people with anger and defiance, confusion and fear.

After more than a year of discussions, health and human services is preparing to formally present the new definition to the Justice Department before the end of the year, Trump administration officials say.

A 2016 study by the Rand Corp. estimated that almost 4,000 transgender troops were on active duty and in the reserves, Politico reported.

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