Prizm News / October 21, 2018 / By Prizm News


(Photo courtesy of GLSEN)

LGBTQ leaders, groups vow to stop Trump plans to erase transgender Americans with new federal policy.


By Prizm News

LGBTQ groups and advocates around the country reacted with anger and determination Sunday to a New York Times report about Trump administration plans to define transgender Americans out of existence and exclude them from federal civil-rights protections.


“The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law,” the Times story began.

It summarized a Department of Health and Human Services draft regulation this way: “The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.”

The Times also quoted Catherine E. Lhamon, who helped expand recognition of civil rights for transgender children as an assistant education secretary under President Obama.

“This takes a position that what the medical community understands about their patients— what people understand about themselves—is irrelevant because the government disagrees.”

Here’s how LGBTQ organizations and advocates responded to the report:

The National Center for Transgender Equality:

“This proposal is an attempt to put heartless restraints on the lives of 2 million people, effectively abandoning our right to equal access to health care, to housing, to education or to fair treatment under the law. This administration is willing to disregard the established medical and legal view of our rights and ourselves to solidify an archaic, dogmatic and frightening view of the world. This transparent political attack will not succeed administratively, legally or morally.

“In the name of pre-empting some misinformation, let’s talk about what this proposed rule would not do. It would not eliminate the precedents set by dozens of federal courts over the last two decades affirming the full rights and identities of transgender people. It would not undo the consensus of the medical providers and scientists across the globe who see transgender people, know transgender people and urge everyone to accept us for who we are. And no rule—no administration—can erase the experiences of transgender people and our families. While foolish, this proposed rule deflates itself in the face of the facts, and the facts don’t care how the Trump administration feels.

“To transgender people: I know you are frightened. I know you are horrified to see your existence treated in such an inhumane and flippant manner. What this administration is trying to do is an abomination, a reckless attack on your life and mine. But this administration is also staffed by inexperienced amateurs overplaying their hand by taking extreme positions that ignore law, medicine and basic human decency.

“With each awful headline like this, remember that you are far from alone. NCTE and other organizations are continuing to fight against this bigotry. Remember that there is an entire human rights community that not only stands with us but will always fight back—and fight hard. Thousands of us have devoted our lives to protecting you and your families, and our ability to do so is nothing short of a privilege. And we will not lay down now.

“Transgender people have fought rules like this one in federal and state court and won. We have stood toe-to-toe with administrators, legislatures and executives who would agree with this rule and yet we won. We have fought and will continue to fight for the Equality Act, a bill currently in Congress that would explicitly enshrine civil rights protections for transgender people—Congress must pass this long overdue bill now. We know how to defeat this, and we will do everything we can until every transgender person feels secure in their rights under the law.

“At the heart of our work at NCTE is the belief that no one should have to suffer just to be true to themselves. And yet transgender people are still often forced from their homes, fired from their jobs, harassed at their schools and denied the most basic level of dignity by a broken system. Knowing this, millions of transgender people wake up every day and step into an uncertain world. This is the most common trait shared by transgender people: a strength and resilience for hard and difficult times. If this administration is hoping to demoralize us, they will be disappointed. If they are hoping we will give up, they should reconsider the power of our persistence and our fury.”

Laverne Cox (Photo via Wikipedia)

Laverne Cox:

“We must not give up the fight. But in the face of this affront on my existence and the existence of my community I choose love not fear. I choose love not fear. I choose love not fear. We exist and always have.

“In indigenous cultures all over the world gender existed beyond the binary, and folks who we would call trans today held sacred places in those cultures. Western colonialism drove those trans folks to the margins but we have always been here. Marginalizing trans folks is another example of the brutality of colonialism.

“This latest administration effort to legislate trans folks out of existence is yet another example of why the fight for gender equity must be intersectional and necessarily must include trans folks. Trans folks need everyone to stand with
us in this fight, to let our government know this is not who we are.”


“TransOhio continues to support the greater Ohio gender variant communities and will vigorously oppose the proposed language in the Health and Human Services memo, which attempts to redefine ‘sex’ as: ‘a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.’

“This administration’s stance that gender is “the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued” and that the original birth certificate constitutes ‘definitive proof of a person’s sex’ is contrary to science, medicine, current nondiscrimination laws, federal court cases and public policy. It is also factually incorrect. Transgender and intersex people exist, and no guidance or legislation can change that.

“We encourage our community members and allies to comment on these proposed rules when the public comment period is open, to contact representatives in Congress, to work with local and national awareness efforts and to vote!

“We’re here for you, always. #WeWontBeErased

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin:

Chad Griffin

“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.”


Lambda Legal:

“Not only is this insulting, inhumane and unacceptable, but it also flies in the face of THE LAW.

“This decision by HHS to attempt to erase transgender people disregards and flouts the overwhelming case law that protects transgender people under federal law, as well as the vast consensus of medical authority. This is clearly another ideologically driven attempt by the Trump/Pence administration to marginalize transgender people and force them into the shadows. This will not stand because we will not let it stand.”

Danica Roem

Danica Roem:

“Regarding the latest round of cruelty from the Trump administration: When they attack our rights, we organize, we mobilize and we win.

“We’re all in this together.”