STATES: Pass Legislation to Protect Transgender People from Discrimination

UPDATE (11/20/18): Twenty state attorneys general have sent a statement to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Secretary of Education Betsy Devos opposing their proposal to erase transgender identity from federal programs. As the letter notes, "There is no sound basis in science, policy, or law for taking such a drastic step backward," and states must continue to resist this hateful proposal.

The Trump administration has proposed yet another cruel and regressive policy to erase federal recognition of and protections for transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) people. The Obama administration held that Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, also protects against gender identity-based discrimination. Now, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has proposed to redefine gender identity under Title IX. DHHS has released a memo urging the agencies that enforce Title IX (Departments of Labor, Education, Justice, and DHHS itself) to define sex solely as what’s listed on someone’s birth certificate. The memo suggests that someone whose gender identity does not match their assigned sex at birth must undergo DNA testing to “prove” their gender. If the Justice Department approves DHHS’s proposed definition, it can be applied across all government agencies. The Trump administration’s re-definition of sex under Title IX is nothing short of an erasure of the estimated 1.4 million Americans whose gender identity does not match their gender assigned at birth. The policy change defies scientific research on gender identity and completely ignores the existence of intersex people, who are born with biological traits considered both male and female. Further, the policy change will cause real harm to transgender and GNC people seeking protection from bigotry. An estimated 78% of transgender students have been harassed and assaulted at school. Transgender and GNC people are disproportionately likely to experience violence, employment and housing discrimination, and suicidal ideation. While Congress can do little to prevent this administrative policy change, states can and must pass their own laws protecting transgender and GNC people against discrimination in schools, the workplace, and beyond.

See where you state laws currently stand this issue here: Transgender Law Center Equality Map, and give your state representatives a call if your state is behind on protecting transgender Americans.

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