United States mulls revoking recognition of transgender people

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.

Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said the announcement of a new policy would have no immediate practical effect on the military because the Pentagon has been obliged to continue to recruit and retain transgender people in accordance with current law. "This move would hurt millions of transgender people's ability to live free from discrimination and access critical services like health care", said Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens.

It would also set back aspirations for tolerance and equality among the estimated 0.7% of the population that identifies as transgender.

The report published Sunday said the new definition, if adopted, would erase federal recognition for the many Americans who identify as a gender different than the one they were identified with at birth.

HHS wants to define gender as determined "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable", according to the memo. Both regulations are expected to be released this northern autumn, and would then be open for public comment, typically for 60 days.

Unnamed Trump administration officials told the Times that HHS is preparing to present the memo's definition of gender to the Justice Department by the end of this year.

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The Department of Health and Human Services told USA media it will not comment on alleged document leaks.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement that the memo was an attack on the entire LGBTQ community and called for the U.S. Congress to act on legislation to implement protections. Those who challenge the government definition legally would have to submit to genetic testing, according to the report. It cited a Texas-based federal judge's opinion that the original rule went too far in concluding that discrimination based on gender identity is a form of sex discrimination, which is forbidden by civil rights laws.

But in recent discussions with the administration, civil rights groups, including Lambda Legal, have pointed to other court cases.

Roger Severino, HHS' transphobic director of the Office for Civil Rights, is reportedly spearheading the effort under Title IX, the federal civil rights law banning gender discrimination in education programs that receive financial assistance from the government.

Indeed, the health and human services proposal was prompted, in part, by pro-transgender court decisions in the past year that upheld the Obama administration's position.

"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.

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