Trump says 'looking at' transgender issues after report of policy change
WASHINGTON, DC, USA – US President Donald Trump on Monday, October 22, appeared to confirm a report that his administration was considering establishing a narrow legal definition of gender as unchangeable and biological.
The New York Times had reported one day prior a memo showing that the Department of Health and Human Services was proposing the legal definition under a federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in government-funded education programs.
The news fueled outrage and quickly prompted the viral hashtag #WontBeErased and several rallies for transgender rights.
Asked if he was giving up on his promise to protect transgender Americans, Trump said "we're looking at it."
"We have a lot of different concepts right now," he told reporters before heading to a rally in Texas. "They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender."
"I'm protecting everybody," he said before adding: "I want to protect our country."
The department's proposed definition of gender 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.
"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 The Times said 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 American Civil Liberties Union called the reported proposal "an attack on the very lives and existence of transgender people."
"It is painful, it is hateful, and it will not go unchallenged," said James Esseks, director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV project. "Transgender people have the right to not only exist, but to fully participate in public life."
"If the Trump administration moves forward with these hateful and hurtful policies, they will once again be met with opposition in courts and in communities."
It is the latest effort by President Donald Trump's administration to chip away at protections for the LGBTQ community: he has called for the ejection of transgender people from the military, backed away from anti-discrimination laws that protect gay workers and supported the right of businesses to cite religious principles in not serving gay couples. – Rappler.com