Leaked White House Memo Threatens Transgender Rights

Robin Blassberg   Staff Writer

On Sunday, Oct. 21 the New York Times reported that a government memo had been leaked proposing the word “gender” to be officially defined as biological and fixed.

Throughout his presidency, President Donald Trump has taken efforts to revoke transgender rights, many of which had been put in place by former President Barack Obama and his administration, especially in areas of the military and school bathrooms.

The government memo, alleged to be from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), urges for a more formal and fixed definition of gender, that includes, according to the BBC, “‘sex mean[ing] a person’s status as male or female [being] based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”

The HHS also argues that the sex listed on their birth certificate “shall constitute as definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

Members of not only the transgender community, but also those of the LGBTQIA+ community, and its allies are outraged, with the BBC reporting that the alleged proposal could effectively “define transgender identity out of existence.” As a result, a hashtag, “#WeWontBeErased,” has been created, and multiple advocacy groups put on a demonstration outside of the White House the evening of the 21st and are planning further protests. The National Center for Transgender Equality also released several tweets denoting the memo “an abomination” and a “relentless attack” on the lives of people who identify as transgender. Many advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights believe this is a deliberate form of rescinding federal protections for those in the community.

As of October 29th, neither the HHS nor President Trump’s administration have commented on the memo.

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The Campus Lantern is the school newspaper at Eastern Connecticut State University. The Lantern is run by students, for students and reports on everything hppening around campus. We publish every other week. The Lantern has been in publication since 1945.

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