Recently, the Trump administration announced that they are working on narrowly defining gender as determined by genitalia at birth. The definition may only include sex and completely disregard gender and gender identity, threatening the rights of transgender Americans under law. The memo that was leaked did not include any information about intersex Americans — intersex individuals have a combination of sex characteristics of both males and females.
The debate of whether or not gender can be different than sex is at the root of this new definition — the Trump administration argues that gender is a direct correlation to sex, which is determined at birth.
This new definition would take away the work of the Obama administration that previously made work to recognize gender as not determined at birth, giving individual’s more freedom to determine their own gender.
The Department of Health and Human Services is on its mission to change the definition under Title IX — the law that bans gender discrimination. The nearly 1.5 million Americans that identify as a gender, or lack thereof, other than the one that was on their original birth certificate, will be eradicated from recognition by the U.S. government.
The Trump administration says that by the end of the year, a new definition for gender will be in place. Since this memo has leaked, transgender individuals have taken to social media to stand up for their identities and rights, using the hashtag, #WontBeErased.
Transgender and intersex individuals cannot stop fighting for their rights and allies must fight with them. Currently, the best thing to do if you identify as transgender, intersex or non-binary is to update your ID, if possible. Changing your name and gender on your ID now will ensure that it will be updated prior to the definition being changed.
It is extremely important to vote in the upcoming midterm elections so that your voice is heard on issues such as this one.