The transgender community and allies are rallying online and in the streets against a new, unreleased memo written by the Trump administration, which proposes that people must identify by the gender assigned to them at birth according to genitalia, the New York Times reports.
While the World Health Organization stopped classifying being transgender as a mental illness in June, discrimination by the US government persists.
Cisgender (non-trans) folks, now is the time for you to show up and be a Trans ally! What can you do? VOTE; donate resources to orgs like @LambdaLegal/@TransLawCenter/@TransEquality; use your voice to say, “Trans Rights are human rights!” Silence = complicit #WontBeErasedpic.twitter.com/wQF0TmNg23— Steven Canals (@StevenCanals) October 21, 2018
The Department of Health and Human Services presented the change to include a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs receiving government funding, according to the New York Times.
Under the new definition, sex would be classified as only male or female, and any dispute would have to be clarified with genetic testing.
The new policy could potentially deny transgender students access to school bathrooms for the gender they identify with, but they would still receive legal protection, according to attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of Lambda Legal, an organization that represents LGBTQ rights.
Immediately after reading the news published in the Times Sunday morning, the nonprofit National Center for Transgender Equality started using the hashtag #WontBeErased, in response to the administration’s latest attempt to roll back transgender rights in the US.
At least 1.4 million people in the country identify as transgender, according to the Times. The Trump administration has also tried stopping transgender people from serving in the military, and the Health and Human Services Department spearheaded a rule that would allow health care professionals to deny providing transgender people with care based on religious grounds.
By Sunday night, the National Center for Transgender Equality organized a rally for trans rights in New York City and scheduled another rally for Monday morning in Washington, DC, outside the White House. Several hundreds of activists and allies gathered in New York’s Washington Square Park, including celebrities such as actresses Sara Ramirez and Indya Moore.
“What this feels like to transgender people is trying to make us invisible, trying to say that we don’t exist, trying to say that we are nothing,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Times.
Trans and gender non-conforming people cannot be written, beaten, imprisoned, or shut out of existence.— Women's March (@womensmarch) October 21, 2018
Protect trans rights. Protect trans lives. #WontBeErased.
(#SignOfResistance by @Nerdybrownkid) pic.twitter.com/AgLykSu1Hn
This is my daughter... she is smart and beautiful and brave and has the biggest heart in the world... her future is bright and there are no limits on what she can accomplish... and she #WontBeErased#TransRightsAreHumanRightspic.twitter.com/WlyCcWkEdZ— Paria Hassouri, MD (@pariahassouri) October 21, 2018
Other human rights groups, including Human Rights Campaign, called to stop the Trump administration from proceeding with the rollback. Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of GLAAD, a media advocacy group for LGBTQ people, told the Times she’d like to see even more support from other communities.