According to a memo obtained by the New York Times, the Trump Administration wants to implement a drastic legal definition for the term “sex” that could erase federal protections for transgender people and essentially cease to recognize that they exist.
The Trump Administration’s move is an aggressive policy shift from the Obama Administration, who expanded the definition of gender in federal programs, including education and health care, where it recognized gender as a person’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth.
Social conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were enraged by the Obama Administration’s decisions and have asked the Trump Administration to roll them back.
The draft memo from the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the New York Times, argues that key government agencies, such as Education, Justice, and Labor, need to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of sex.
Per the New York Times, the memo in part:
“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.”
The proposed definition would essentially erase federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth.
The Trump Administration has taken a series of incremental steps over the past two years to erode protections and equality for transgender people, including banning transgender Americans from serving in the armed forces; rescinding guidance from the Department of Education meant to ensure fair and safe treatment of transgender students in schools; and seeking to roll back portions of the Affordable Care Act meant to protect transgender people.