Lyons: Trans Rights Are Under Attack (Again)

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

The Trump Administration recently released a memo detailing a proposal that would greatly limit transgender peoples’ rights, safety, and freedom of expression. A new definition of sex that does not include gender identity is up for debate. According to The New York Times, the memo from the Administration states “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 redefinition is defended by the Department of Health and Human Services as an attempt to specify the definition of sex under Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in education programs and any other federally funded activities. The new definition impacts two policies currently under debate.

One concerns gender discrimination in colleges that receive federal financial aid, and the other involves federally funded health programs. If passed, this new regulation will affect the approximately 1.4 million transgender people in the United States, who, coincidentally, would also like to be protected from gender discrimination in educational spaces. This decision would drastically decrease the Obama-era policies that allowed for a wider and more fluid definition of gender that expanded legal protections for gender nonconforming individuals.

LGBTQ+ groups and activists took to the streets of New York on Sunday to protest this discriminatory policy. Additional demonstrations were planned for the White House on Monday. On Twitter, the hashtag #WontBeErased is trending as trans* people and allies alike assert the civil rights of transgender people. Trans twitter users are sharing pictures of themselves with this affirmation of visibility. Leaders of the Women’s March tweeted: “Trans and gender non-conforming people cannot be written, beaten, imprisoned, or shut out of existence. Protect trans rights. Protect trans lives,” while GLAAD simply but powerfully repeated “Trans people #WontBeErased.

If you want to support trans* people and fight back against discriminatory policies, here are some ideas to get you started.

To trans readers: you are valid. We will fight for you and beside you.

 (Sources from The New York Times here and hereTime, and the general Twitter.)