Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, responded to an explosive New York Times report that the Trump-Pence Administration intends to redefine "sex" to intentionally exclude LGBTQ people and their families from non-discrimination protections.
The news was met with fury by transgender activists, and a protest was held in New York's Washington Square on Sunday night.
This change would be a departure from practices developed during the Obama administration, which recognize a person's gender based on their own interpretation or identity rather than their chromosomal makeup or birth sex. Under a proposal in the works by the Department of Health and Human Services, a person's gender would be legally defined according to the genitals they had at birth.
LGBTQI+ activists mobilised a fast and fierce campaign that included a protest outside of the White House on Monday to say transgender people can not be expunged from society, in response to an unreleased Trump administration memo that proposes a strict definition of gender based on a person's genitalia at birth.
Dr. Jenny Siegel, medical director of the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Boston Medical Center, said the Trump administration's notion that one's sex is biologically determined at birth and immutable is "scientifically false".
The Department of Health and Human Services is considering rolling back Obama-era protections for transgender individuals. The proposal would define sex as either male or female, and any dispute about one's sex would have to be clarified through genetic testing, according to the Times' account of the memo.
"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 memo reportedly reads.
"We have significant fear that it will seriously dehumanize this already vulnerable population of patients and potentially put peoples' lives at risk", Siegel said, pointing to high rates of mental distress and suicide among transgender people.
'They are saying we don't exist, ' said Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Rights, in an interview. The Times report said the change could also be implemented governmentwide. Many civil rights groups have pointed to other court rulings that said bias against transgender people represented discrimination under Title IX and other laws.
"Not only does government affirmation of gender dysphoria hurt the very people it claims to help, but there is no serious argument that Congress intended the word "sex" to include "gender identity" when it passed Title IX", she said.
"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". This is clearly another ideologically-driven attempt by the Trump administration to marginalize transgender people and force them into the shadows.