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.
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Trans Americans Still Face Tremendous Discrimination in the Workforce
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.
Last Year Federal Courts Ordered Trump to Start Accepting Transgender Recruits – He’s All but Refused
A federal court back in November ordered the Trump administration to begin accepting transgender recruits on January 1 into the U.S. Military, per a previous Obama policy. In the weeks that followed, several federal courts, including at least one appeals court, ruled Trump’s attempt to ban transgender service members could not stand and ordered him to begin accepting transgender service members January 1.
The New York Times reports “nearly all … transgender recruits who have tried to join up since a federal court ordered the Trump administration not to ban them from the military,” are “still waiting” to hear back from the Pentagon, run by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (photo, with Trump) after having applied on or after January 1.
Since those federal court rulings, “scores have applied — but it appears almost none are being accepted.”
“The Defense Department refused requests for statistics on transgender enlistments. But Sparta, an organization for transgender recruits, troops and veterans, says that out of its 140 members who are trying to enlist, only two have made it into the service since Jan. 1.”
Among those The Times mentions are a man who has “two martial arts black belts,” “aced the military aptitude test, and organized the stack of medical records required to show he was stable and healthy enough to serve.”
Others include a rugby coach, a substitute teacher, someone who “repairs tractors and heaves bales of hay for the cattle that he and his grandmother keep on a small hillside farm in Appalachia,” and another applicant who “moves 200-pound tanks of carbon dioxide for a job creating special effects for Broadway shows.”
It seems clear the Trump administration is doing everything it can to find reasons to reject any applicant who is transgender, and at a time when the military is in desperate need of new recruits.
“One applicant in Ohio spent five months submitting more and more medical records, and then was rejected in late May because of knee surgery he had as an infant,” 25 years prior.
“We’ve heard people are meeting with mystifying obstacles,” Shannon Minter, the the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). “We want to give the military the benefit of the doubt, but at this point so few applicants have been accepted, there is reason to be concerned that there is some passive resistance to the injunctions, and people are getting slow-walked.”
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