Among minority groups whose rights have been attacked since Trump took office, the trans community has been one of those hit the hardest. (As some of the top LGBTQ discrimination attorneys here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we pay keen attention to these issues and hope to share them with you on our blog).The Trump Administration has circulated a proposal it is considering among various government agencies to amend federal civil-rights law by introducing a definition of sex as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” This is in response to what officials and supporters of the current regime believed to be gross federal overreach during the Obama Administration, including guidance which directed school administrators to recognize students’ stated gender identity (instead of relying on any sort of medical documents); this enabled students to use the bathroom and locker room consistent with their true gender. That particular guidance was one of the first targets of the Trump Administration with Betsy DeVos rescinding it very early on in her turn as Education Secretary.
This attack on civil rights will destroy federal recognition of an estimated 1.4 million Americans who identify as a gender other than the one they were deemed at birth. The introduction of this definition, based on so-called “immutable biological traits,” also serves to effectively collapse the distinction between sex and gender, reintroducing America to a view of gender identity completely devoid of any nuance, and far out of step with the social and scientific progress of recent years. Ironically, the document is reported to push the definition as one “grounded in science, objective and administrable”—even though this is directly contradicted by the American Medical Association board’s opinion and code of medical ethics, which suggests that genetic testing of children “implicates important concerns about the minor patient’s present and future autonomy and best interests.”
And, as Masha Gessen points out in her article “The Trauma of the Trump Administration’s Attacks on Transgender People,” this goes further than just putting back the clock—it is trauma-inducing. The trans community, which has never historically never held a comfortable position in American society, will now be further exposed. As Gessen writes, trans folks won’t “have a closet to return to,” especially in light of a certain draft proposal that includes a provision for widespread genetic testing.
The policy draft is still subject to change, but that seems unlikely given the history of the current Administration. And, even in the event that the proposal is not ultimately enacted, or that its effect is mitigated by the courts, its existence will undoubtedly lead to an increase in violence against the trans community. Indeed, if the man holding the highest political office places no value in the lives of trans folks, then what kind of message does this send to his support base?
What is beyond question, however, is that such proposals make eminently clear that the goalpost for what can be considered “dystopian” has been significantly moved. If you believe you are suffering any kind of gender discrimination, discrimination over sexual identity / LGBTQ issues, please contact one of our attorneys immediately. With offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Anselmo, our attorneys can meet you face-to-face at many convenient locations for a confidential consultation. You have rights, and our attorneys defend them!