The Trump administration was shown last week to be considering a new legal definition of sex that would exclude transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. Under the new definition, an individual’s genitals at birth would be the sole factor determining their sex and legally-recognized gender as male or female, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.
This backward-moving proposal would reverse changes brought on during Obama’s eight years in office that offered protection to transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals by recognizing gender not as a biological concept, but as a social construct.
These changes would prohibit transgender people from changing gender markers on government identifications and other forms. They could also lose legal protections against discrimination in the workplace and by public institutions, among other potential ramifications.
This blatant discrimination against transgender people is a feeble attempt at trans-erasure. While the memo cites the need for a definition of sex that is, “clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable,” gender remains a social construct, not a biological one, so it is difficult, if not impossible, to organize it into clean-cut categories.
To me, this means that the Trump administration’s new definition is not actually based on science and research but rather transphobia and staunch conservatism, which is dangerous to the development of a society free of discrimination.
This inability to move forward with the times and support transgender people only shows transphobic people that it’s okay to discriminate — after all, they have the government on their side.
Though this most recent attack on trans rights is full of inaccuracies, it cannot be taken lightly.
We have seen acts of hatred and discrimination from Trump his entire first term, but the rallying cries of his supporters do not and cannot represent all Americans.
As the #WontBeErased campaign has shown, changes in legal definition won’t suddenly make transgender people think they’ve been in the wrong the whole time. They will continue to fight for their rights to be equally recognized in all legal and social aspects, and deserve respect and support for doing so