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116 Lawmakers Call for End to Transgender Military Service Ban
116 members of Congress sent a letter Wednesday to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr to call for the elimination of the ban on open transgender military service. This follows the June 15, 2020 Supreme Court ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) spearheaded the initiative.
“This policy is an attack on transgender service members who are risking their lives to serve our country and it should be reversed immediately,” DelBene said.
On April 12, 2019, the Trump administration banned transgender individuals from serving openly in the military. The discriminatory policy denies transgender people the ability to enlist in the military and puts transgender troops at risk of being discharged for living openly. It also denies them transition-related health services.
“In light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling…we urge the Department of Defense (DOD) to immediately update its policies to eliminate the ban on open transgender military service,” lawmakers wrote in the letter. “Additionally, to prevent further harm to transgender service members, we urge the DOD to instruct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to negotiate the end to litigation challenging the ban.”
“It’s past time for the Trump administration to end its ban on transgender troops serving openly,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The policy is hateful and discriminatory, and puts at risk our country’s national security by purging brave transgender people from the military despite their honorable service to the American people. The administration must move quickly to right this wrong and protect transgender members of the military.”
“It’s crucial that the Department of Defense remove this unconstitutional transgender military ban and ensure any qualified patriot is able to serve,” said Modern Military Association of America Interim Executive Director Jennifer Dane. “Thousands of transgender service members have already more than proven themselves with honor and distinction, and this discriminatory barrier that has nothing to do with their ability to accomplish the mission must be taken down. We are thankful for Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s leadership, and we urge the Department of Defense to take swift action.”
The transgender service ban was put in place against the recommendations of several former Surgeons General. Additionally, the country’s preeminent health care organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Medical Association, have all affirmed that transgender people can competently serve in the military.
The letter was signed by Representatives Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Colin Allred (TX-32), Karen Bass (CA-37), Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-07), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At-large), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24), Ed Case (HI-01), Sean Casten (IL-06),
A copy of the letter can be found here.
Trump Again Targets Transgender People – This Time in New Proposal to Rescind Obama-Era Healthcare Protections
President Donald Trump, through his Dept. of Health and Human Services, is once again targeting transgender people, this time by proposing a new rule that would rescind Obama-era healthcare protections.
The proposed rule would let doctors and other medical professionals, and health care organizations discriminate against transgender people by allowing them to deny care to someone on the basis of gender identity.
“Predicated on little more than prejudice, this proposal will abandon 2 million Americans who already face significant barriers to accessing adequate and life-saving health care,” Mara Keisling, Executive Director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement. “This is not about free health care or special treatment. It’s about the right of every American to be treated with dignity when they walk into an emergency room, meet a new doctor, or find the right insurance plan. If permitted, this rule will promote ignorance and hate that no American should have to face while seeking care, and we are ready to fight it with everything we’ve got.”
The Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, headed by Roger Severino, will be in charge of the new rule, including determining if it will go into effect. The Human Rights Campaign has called Severino a “radical anti-LGBTQ activist.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
Trump Administration Moves to End All Trans Protections via New Rule
In their boldest move against LGBTQ rights, the Trump administration is considering an exceedingly limited definition of sex that would likely erase any and all transgender rights and protections.
The proposed rule, according to a report in the New York Times, would define sex as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.”
The rule is coming out via the Department of Health and Human Services under Alex Azar.
HHS has been arguing that “sex” doesn’t include gender identity over the last year, and has, according to the Times, felt that the “lack of clarity” caused by inclusive Obama-era rules “wrongfully extend civil rights protections to people who should not have them.”
In the memo, HHS states that governmental bodies need a uniform definition of gender that is formed “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
All disputes regarding sex would be based solely on genetic testing.
The move would roll back protections at all levels of the Federal government for transgender people.
The draft memo, which has been circulating since spring, also takes aim at birth certificates, saying, “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.”
This rule would fly in the face of scientific reality. By defining sex so rigidly, it would essentially ignore intersex people as well as transgender people.
It has been scientifically understood for decades that sex is not rigidly defined, and that there is a great variation of potential genetic markers beyond XX and XY, the most common chromosome pairs for sex determination.
This is the boldest move yet from the administration since their attempts to bar transgender people from the military.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
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