Over 1,600 scientists have drafted and signed an open letter, intended for the administration of President Donald Trump, urging officials to recognized gender as a spectrum — not a binary set of traits.
The letter, signed by 1,624 scientists –including eight Nobel laureates — urges lawmakers in Washington to dismiss efforts by the Trump administration to set gender definitions based on genetics and a person’s genitals.
“This proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity,” the scientists wrote in their letter, hosted by not-binary.org.
They added that the “proposal is in no way ‘grounded in science’ as the administration claims.”
The policy seeks to “erase the identities” of transgender or intersex individuals, the scientists claimed. They further explained that gender or sex is not as simple as male or female.
“Though scientists are just beginning to understand the biological basis of gender identity, it is clear that many factors, known and unknown, mediate the complex links between identity, genes, and anatomy.”
The letter from the scientists was published weeks after a draft memo within the Trump administration was discovered by news organizations. The draft memo allegedly sought to redefine gender under Title IX, according to reporting from BuzzFeed News.
That memo sought to clarify sex as being defined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
The Trump administration’s attempts to redefine gender run counter to the kind of leader that Trump suggested he would be during his presidential campaign. In 2016, he promised to be a champion for their causes, and suggested that his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, would be more passive than he would be with regard to their rights.
“Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” Trump wrote in June 2016, per reporting from Newsweek.
A year later, Trump tried to enact a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the armed forces. That ban was blocked by court rulings deeming it unconstitutional, Human Rights Campaign reported this past summer.
Scientists aren’t the only ones arguing against the administration’s efforts to reduce protections and recognition of transgender or intersex individuals. Also this week, a group of 50 companies, representing more than $2.6 trillion in revenue annually, wrote in a shared statement that they opposed “efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations,” according to reporting from the Hill.