AUSTIN, Texas — The Trump administration is looking to limit the definition of gender, a move that would dramatically reduce protections for transgender people.
According to a memo obtained by the New York Times, the Department of Health and Human Services is working on a draft proposal that said gender is assigned at birth.
The memo stated:
“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.”
LGBTQIA and civil rights activists are speaking out against the reported consideration. Demonstrators rallied at the White House, Monday.
Local groups like Out Youth said they are especially concerned about what the implications mean for the dozens of transgender youth they serve. Anemone Schlotterbeck is a clinical social worker for the organization, who regularly sees about 15 young clients in their Austin youth center.
“Every day I talk to trans people who struggle with bullying with peers, who have teachers who harass them, who can’t get jobs, can’t see a future for themselves because of discrimination of trans people and so to encourage everyone who would want to do violence or harass trans people really scares me,” she said.
If the proposal is adopted, it would eradicate federal recognition for the many Americans who do not identify with the gender on their birth certificate. Many protections were established under the Obama administration. Four agencies, the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor, would need to enforce the definition.
“There’s this long standing discordance when you’re told you’re something you’re not over and over and it’s communicated that you don’t know who you are,” Schlotterbeck said.
The report has also sparked the hashtag #WeWontBeErased on social media.
“Trans people would do what we’ve always done and found ways to survive find ways to support each other,” Schlotterbeck said.
President Trump briefly addressed the matter before journalists Monday.
“We're looking at it. We have a lot of different concepts right now. They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender right now. You know that as well as I do. We're looking at it very seriously. I'm protecting everybody. You know what I'm doing? I'm protecting everybody. I'm protecting our county,” said Trump.