Big changes are in the works under the Trump administration, and like many minorities, people in the transgender community are concerned.
For the past year, the Department of Health and Human services has argued that the term “sex” defines a person’s status as male or female based on biological traits and was never meant to include gender identity.
HHS is making an effort to institute a legal definition of sex under the Title IX, the federal civil rights law, which prohibits gender discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistances, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.
The memo, which was drafted, leaked and has been circulating since last spring, clearly 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 new definition will undo the civil rights successes made under the Obama administration for trans rights. Efforts to embrace the concept of gender fluidity were made in federal education and healthcare programs under the Obama administration.
With recognition to the vulnerability of transgender people being bullied and isolated in the public school systems, President Obama's education department expanded Title IX's sex-based protections to include gender identity.
The Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama administration issued similar statues.
Now HHS is getting ready to formally present the new definition of sex to the Justice Department before the end 2018, and if the department approves the change, it could affect the laws and government agencies under Title IX, including the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor.
“In the face of this kind of injustice, it will be vital for local governments and leaders to step up and put in increased protections to counter the intent of this act of prejudice,” said Dustin Daniels, candidate for Tallahassee mayor.
On FAMU’s campus, the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs will continue to practice fair and inclusive ways. “The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs will continue to treat members of the transgender community with respect and dignity,” said Carrie Gavin, director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs
Although there is not a total count of members from the transgender community on FAMU’s campus, Gavin expects nothing less than equal opportunities for students that do fall under the category. “That will not change regardless of the any laws that may change. We will continue to advocate for diversity and inclusion in our training sessions with our students and employees,” Gavin said.
According to the Times, this legal change will “eradicate federal recognition” of 1.4 million transgender Americans.