It is 2018, the Year of Beyoncé, and yet it seems as if Donald Trump is trying to send us back to 1940, the Year of the Bigots, as the administration considers narrowly defining gender as an unchangeable condition determined by genitalia at birth.
According to a New York Times report, the Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to legally define sex under Title IX, which bans gender discrimination in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. In the memo, the DHHS argued that government agencies have to have a clear definition of gender designated “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
The New York Times reports:
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, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring. “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.”
That means that the 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender would basically be not recognized by federal law, dismantling all of the decisions made by the Obama administration, namely that gender is recognized as the individual’s choice and not reflected in the sex that the individual was assigned at birth.
“This takes a position that what the medical community understands about their patients — what people understand about themselves — is irrelevant because the government disagrees,” Catherine E. Lhamon, who headed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights in Obama’s administration and helped to write transgender guidance that is being threatened.
The DHHS’ excuse? According to the Times the agency has argued that “sex” was never inclusive of gender identity, or even homosexuality.
“Transgender people are frightened,” Sarah Warbelow, the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, told the Times. “At every step where the administration has had the choice, they’ve opted to turn their back on transgender people.”
And that is a fact, for who can forget the Trump administration’s push to stop trans folk from serving their country in the military?
As the story broke, transgender people have took to social media to fight back against the proposal, starting the hashtag #WontBeErased
They can try all they want, but they cannot erase us.
— Janet Mock (@janetmock) October 21, 2018
This attempted erasure of trans lives is disgusting. They are literally trying to eliminate the already threatened livelihood of trans people.
We always have, we always will.
— Amiyah Scott (@KingAmiyahScott) October 21, 2018
Our existence as transgender and gender non-binary people is an act of civil disobedience. #WontBeErased
— Jennicet Gutiérrez (@JennicetG) October 21, 2018
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. We exist and always have.
Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence https://t.co/G4rKB1mVfe
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) October 21, 2018