The Trump administration has issued new restrictions on the civil rights of transgender and non-binary people. Rolling Stone reports that the administration is considering restricting the definition of gender to be based on a person’s genitalia at birth. The New York Times obtained a memo that stated that the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to define gender under Title IX protections. Title IX is the law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in educational institutions.
The definition of gender under Title IX was altered during by the Obama administration to reflect gender as an individual’s identification decision, providing expanded civil rights for the transgender community. Approximately 1.4 million people have taken advantage of those changes to identify as a gender different from that which they were born.
The memo stated that the definition of gender should be determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” Additionally, the only gender options would be male or female, and could not be changed over the course of a person’s life. If needed, the memo states that genetic testing would be used to determine an individual’s gender.
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth… 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.”
Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence via @NYTimes— Cher (@cher) October 21, 2018
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The new development follows a series of similar curbs to transgender rights by the Trump administration. The Trump administration previously attempted to ban transgender individuals from military service — a move that was blocked by multiple judges as a lawsuit against it works its way through the court system — while also altering the passport designation of “gender” to “sex,” preventing non-binary individuals to have the appropriate designation on their passport.
“Transgender people are frightened,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign. “At every step where the administration has had the choice, they’ve opted to turn their back on transgender people.”
“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,” wrote Mara Kiesling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality in an impassioned response published by Common Dreams.“This transparent political attack will not succeed administratively, legally, or morally.”