Tue, Oct 23, 2018 - Page 1 News List

US administration trying to eliminate transgender rules

DRAFT MEMO:A draft HHS proposal says gender should be determined by the genitals a person is born with. A protest is planned for Washington


The government of US President Donald Trump is attempting to strip transgender people of official recognition by creating a definition of gender as being only male or female, and unchangeable once it is determined at birth, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has undertaken an effort across several departments, including Education, Justice and Labor, to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex, the Times said, citing a government memo it obtained.

That definition would be as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals a person is born with, the Times reported.

A draft of the memo, which has been circulating since the spring, says gender should be determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable,” the Times reported.

“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 says.

Such an interpretation would reverse the expansion of transgender rights that took place under the administration of then-US president Barack Obama.

Officials at the department have argued that “sex” was never meant to include gender identity, so the Obama administration’s moves to allow individuals to define themselves as anything other than their birth gender was illegitimate, the Timessaid

The newspaper said that psychiatrists no longer consider being transgender a disorder and courts have found the Obama interpretation of protecting transgender people against discrimination to be sound, but the Trump administration has chosen to abide by a 2016 ruling by US District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas.

A HHS spokeswoman declined to comment on “allegedly leaked documents,” but cited a ruling by a US district judge as a guide to transgender policy.

The Obama administration enacted regulations and followed court rulings that protected transgender people.

The Trump administration has sought to ban transgender people from military service and rescinded guidance to public schools recommending that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.

The US Department of State under Trump has not filled a position created by former secretary of state John Kerry of a special envoy advocating LGBTQ rights around the world.

Meanwhile, a leading transgender advocate called the government’s reported action a “super aggressive, dismissive, dangerous move.”

“They are saying we don’t exist,” National Center for Transgender Rights (NCTE) director Mara Keisling said.

NTCE called for a protest march down Pennsylvania Ave in Washington to the White House to being about noon yesterday.

Additional reporting by AFP and the Guardian

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