The current presidential administration’s ongoing assault on transgender and gender-nonconforming United States residents may become encoded in its gender discrimination policy. The New York Times reported yesterday (October 21) that the Department of Health and Human Services released a memo arguing for a definition of gender that functionally prohibits these communities from federal recognition.
The Times says that a draft version of the memo it obtained advocates to define sex and gender, under Title IX, as binary and determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” The Times quotes from the memo, which it says has circulated internally since being drafted 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 report prompted immediate backlash for attempting to include a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex for government-funded education programs. It would also essentially erase millions of transgender and gender-nonconforming people out of legal recognition or protection. The hashtag #WontBeErased trended on Twitter today (October 22) as people from organizations representing these communities, as well as their allies, used social media to uplift resistance to the memo recommendations. Here are some examples:
PLZ SHARE this state by state resource list of local trans/nb/gnc groups doing amazing work supported by the Trans Justice Funding Project. I really trust @TransJusticeFP & am in awe of their commitment to organizing happening on the grassroots level. https://t.co/0NH0Zkggft
— 🐝Tourmaline🐝 (@tourmaliiine) October 22, 2018
They can try all they want, but they cannot erase us.
— Janet Mock (@janetmock) October 21, 2018
Our existence as transgender and gender non-binary people is an act of civil disobedience. #WontBeErased
— Jennicet Gutiérrez (@JennicetG) October 21, 2018
Heard about the latest attack on our community. Remember: we’re stronger together. Don’t run and hide. We have to be more visible and unified than ever! https://t.co/Ct3Pa29Jyj pic.twitter.com/kPtM8UpHrJ
— Miss Major (@immissmajor) October 22, 2018
“To be clear: nothing this administration can do will undermine the scores of federal courts that have recognized our humanity and hundreds of state and local legal protections we’ve already won.” — TLC Executive Director, Kris Hayashi. https://t.co/olFDvJCDyg
— TransgenderLawCenter (@TransLawCenter) October 21, 2018
Next, we have @CasaRubyDC’s Ruby Corrado: “Before I came out into the world and demanded basic human rights, I accepted myself… No one can take away my dignity. No one can take away my identity. No one can take away who I am.” pic.twitter.com/ZIC5PCFLcs
— National Center for Transgender Equality (@TransEquality) October 22, 2018
Gender essentialism as policy will impact women who are born with Androgen insensitivity syndrom- Intersexed people & anyone who depends on the health care system that funnels care down through binary. Our human existence is spectral in nature & cannot be governed by perspective
— IAM (@IndyaMoore) October 21, 2018
We must not give up the fight. But in the face of this affront on my existence and the existence of my community I choose love not fear. We exist and always have.
Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence https://t.co/G4rKB1mVfe
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) October 21, 2018