‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html

By Erica L. Green, Katie Benner and Robert Pear
Oct. 21, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.

A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing gender largely as an individual’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth. The policy prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed.

Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” 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.”

The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves — surgically or otherwise — as a gender other than the one they were born into.

“This takes a position that what the medical community understands about their patients — what people understand about themselves — is irrelevant because the government disagrees,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, who led the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights in the Obama administration and helped write transgender guidance that is being undone.

The move would be the most significant of a series of maneuvers, large and small, to exclude the population from civil rights protections and roll back the Obama administration’s more fluid recognition of gender identity. The Trump administration has sought to bar transgender people from serving in the military and has legally challenged civil rights protections for the group embedded in the nation’s health care law.

Several agencies have withdrawn Obama-era policies that recognized gender identity in schools, prisons and homeless shelters. The administration even tried to remove questions about gender identity from a 2020 census survey and a national survey of elderly citizens.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html

2 Responses to “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration”

  1. Andrea B Says:

    This directly affects all post op (SRS) transsexual people in the USA. That is, depending on whose figures you use, you will (very) conservatively get.

    The shrinks figures: 11,000
    Using the same proportion that got birth certificates in the UK: 24,000
    Using Conway-Olyslager for srs: 130,000

    We all know the figures are higher than that, but those are at least the most conservative figures of post SRS in the USA I could quickly work out, from memory. I am sure people have more up to date and accurate figures, as I am well out of date these days.

    Once bodily autonomy is legally stripped away from any woman or man for that matter, regardless of trans or not, then that becomes the thin end of a wedge that can be used to strip away rights for trans or non trans.

    Once the principle of removing a persons bodily autonomy is established in law, it gives a precedent that can be used to go after abortion rights, contraceptives and LGBT. The recent changes in the USA Supreme Court would make such a scenario possible.

    I can see an end game in this, that ends in a really bad place. Just my thoughts on the subject.

  2. edith pilkington Says:

    I wanted to post this at the Metro Weekly article but couldn’t:

    I wanted to clarify something re: the Guardian editorial posted below which was also about changes to the Gender Recognition Act in the U K. The Guardian says:

    “for example, transgender prisoners have been allocated according to natal sex.”, referring to Ireland. That isn’t true. According to the Irish Times:

    “the prison service allocated people to male and female prisons based on their genitalia or their birth certificates.”


    In Ireland the Gender Recognition Act specifically states that, “Gender shall mean sex, and sex shall mean gender.” That goes against the kind of activism in the U S which is vague and ambiguous about the meanings of both words and uses each in a way that is patronizing and dismissive to those who change sex. There are also privacy protections for Irish born citizens which prevent outing. In the U K it is a criminal offense to record patients as “trans”, thus revealing their gender history. Fenway and Lambda here recommend people be formally outed in each and every instance for medical purposes and be recorded by their “assigned sex at birth”, the same way Trump and Sessions want. The only difference is they will afford a gender identity and politely suggest that medical staff humor their patients by “respecting their gender identity” while associating every sex reassigned body with the expectations implied in an at birth sex assignment.

    I finally got my Irish passport last year. I had to get my gender recognition certificate before I did that. When my GRC arrived last December there was a number on it that said 235. I was #235 of all the people who sought to have my sex change legally documented. Ireland, as stated in the article, has no requirement for any kind of hormone therapy or SRS.

    Ireland has some of the most liberal gender recognition policies in the world. It is a country of almost 5 million. There are I don’t know how many foreign born citizens like me, yet only 235 people, as of last December, found it necessary to change their sex/gender documentation. Doing so isn’t quite as easy as rolling off a log but for those who really need to it is very doable.

    So, in Ireland the number of those living full time with or w/out “medical interventions” who are actually documented as living in another gender beside the one “assigned at birth” is only .000047, if only 5 million are counted. It would be an even smaller percentage if all foreign born citizens are counted.. If one takes that percentage and divides it into the Williams Institute figure of .6% one finds the Williams institute figure is 12,766 times greater than the documented figures in Ireland. That’s an indication that among all the people the Williams is counting as transgender there is a vast majority whose needs are much different than those who find it necessary to reject a sex assignment. I think the distortions involved create injustices for the smallest minority in those in which the Williams, essentially, aggregates. They aggregate non consensually in my opinion.

    I don’t think these distortions help anyone. The numbers in Ireland of who would truly need to reject a sex assignment is probably greater than the ones counted in the registries but it can’t be 12 – 13 thousand times greater.

    This is all very important to me. I know how bad Trump is. I have an option if things get really bad. It is important for me to know what’s going on there as well as here. Irish citizenship gives a right to live anywhere in the European Union. That distortion about the Irish prisons was really unnerving.

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