Celebrities React to Trump Admin Moving to Exclude Transgender People from Civil Rights Protections

– The NYT has received a memo alerting them that the Trump administration may be looking to narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by sex at birth, which would be a drastic move to roll back federal civil rights protections for transgender people – calling on the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor to adopt their new position.
– The Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimiantion in educaiton programs that receive financial assistance from the government. The department argues in its memo obtained by the NYT that key government agencies need 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 definition would define gender determined by sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and any dispute would have to be clarified using genetic testing.
– Director of Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Sercies, Roger Severino, has declined to answer detailed questions about the memo to the NYT or his role in revising the definition of gender. Mr. Severino, while working as the head of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, was among the conservatives who blanched at the Obama administration’s expansion of sex to include gender identity, which he called “radical gender ideology.” In one commentary piece, he called the policies a “culmination of a series of unilateral, and frequently lawless, administration attempts to impose a new definition of what it means to be a man or a woman on the entire nation.”
– This would be a roll back on the Obama administration's recognition of gender identity. The Trump administration's move would lead to excluding many of the civil rights protections offered to transgender people that were formed under the last administraiton, already having barred transgender people from the military and challenged civil rights protections for trans people under national health care services and laws. The administraiton even tried to remove questions about gender identity from the survey for the 2020 census. One of the Trump administration’s first decisive policy acts was the rescission by the Education and Justice Departments of Obama administration guidelines that offered protection for trans students who wanted to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
–  “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposes in the memo, which was written, drafted and has been circulating since spring of 2017. “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.” Officials inside the department admit the redefiniton was advised by a court order, referring to the rulings of Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth, Tex., a George W. Bush appointee who has held that “Congress did not understand ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity.’” In their memo, health and human services officials wrote that “courts and plaintiffs are racing to get decisions” ahead of any rule-making, because of the lack of a stand-alone definition. “Courts and the previous administration took advantage of this circumstance to include gender identity and sexual orientation in a multitude of agencies, and under a multitude of laws,” the memo states. Doing so “led to confusion and negative policy consequences in health care, education and other federal contexts.”
– For the last year, health and human services have been privately arguing that the term “sex” was never meant to include gender identity or even homosexuality, and that the lack of clarity allowed the Obama administration to include those things lead to wrongfully extending civil rights protections to people who should not have them. The Department still has much to decide on how this redefiniton would affect how schools would be required to codify gender, including sports programs and classes.
– Civil rights groups have been meeting with federal courts in recent weeks to fight this new definition, but may have little luck based on an October 2017 memo from Jeff Sessions, sent to agencies clarifying that civil rights protections may not extend to "gender identity, per se." Harper Jean Tobin, the policy director of advocacy group the National Center for Transgender Equality, called the maneuvering “an extremely aggressive legal position that is inconsistent with dozens of federal court decisions.” Ms. Lhamon of the Obama Education Department said the proposed definition “quite simply negates the humanity of people.”

ONTD, who has gotta go first? In your humble opinion.

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