What if you were born and the government decided you did not exist? That is what the Trump Administration is contemplating doing to millions of Americans, of all races, and all ages.
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.
1.4 million Americans define themselves as belonging to another gender despite the appearance of their “genitalia.” In a move to appease his radical, so-called “Christian” base, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services is preparing to take away the Federally-guaranteed civil rights provided to these people that protect them from hatred, ostracism, violence, and discrimination as they live their lives.
[T]he 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.
Protections for transgender people were established during the Administration of President Obama, as our society gradually came to recognize that one’s perception and understanding of one’s sexual identity could not be reduced to the appearance of one’s sexual organs. This was an understanding that was and is supported by the medical and psychological community as firmly well-established. It is also an understanding that has been widely acknowledged by our courts and legal system.
Since his installation into office, however, Trump has attempted to roll back or eliminate protections for anyone who identifies as a different gender, in such areas as schooling or the military. He is supported in these attempts by conservative Evangelical Christians who now control the levers of power in our government.
“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 elimination of civil rights for an entire class of people is reminiscent to what was implemented in pre-World War II Germany in a series of measures known as the Nuremberg Laws, in which civil rights, the right to marriage and the right to employment in various professions were officially denied to Jews because of their “difference.” The Nuremberg Laws, passed unanimously by the German Reichstag in 1935, sanctioned state-sponsored persecution of Jewish people and are widely viewed as a natural institutional precedent for the Holocaust.
After more than a year of discussions, health and human services is preparing to formally present the new definition to the Justice Department before the end of the year, Trump administration officials say. If the Justice Department decides that the change is legal, the new definition can be approved and enforced in Title IX statutes, and across government agencies.
The article references Roger Severino, who previously served as the head of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, as spearheading this effort. Severino is now the director of the “Office for Civil Rights” at the Department of Health and Human Services, an office that now, in Orwellian fashion, works to eliminate civil rights rather than enforce them.
Ms. Lhamon of the Obama Education Department said the proposed definition “quite simply negates the humanity of people.”
By stripping transgender people of their civil rights the Trump Administration is cynically catering to a radical minority of Americans motivated by religious fears, revulsion, and hatred. They are the most dangerous subset of the people who elected him into office but they are also the most vocal and politically powerful. They are the same people who are moving to re-mold our court system into a bludgeon to be used against women who want to preserve their reproductive choices. They are the same people who want to turn gay and lesbian people into second-class citizens. And when that is accomplished, they will search for and find someone new to hate.
They will never stop unless we as Americans stand up to stop them.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.