Reaction was swift after The New York Times reported today that the Health Department is pushing a memo to deny the existence of trans identity and move toward eliminating nearly all federal protections for gender-nonconforming people. All major LGBTQ organizations condemned the proposed policies and the American Civil Liberties Union told the Trump administration they should anticipate a furious legal battle.
"This is an attack on the very lives and existence of transgender people," James Esseks, director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement. "It is painful, it is hateful, and it will not go unchallenged. Transgender people have the right to not only exist, but to fully participate in public life. Transgender people are real and transgender lives have meaning.
"If the Trump administration moves forward with these hateful and hurtful policies, they will once again be met with opposition in courts and in communities. More and more courts are seeing that policies targeting transgender people have no place in our country. The ACLU will fight back against any efforts to use transgender people as political pawns and continue to seek full equality for transgender and nonbinary people."
A bigot at the Department of Health and Human Services, Roger Severino, is spearheading a memo that would define gender identity as immutable and defined by genitalia at the time of birth. The memo is the first step in getting all federal agencies to have consistent messaging about trans identity -- namely, that it doesn't exist -- and to roll back protections for gender-nonconforming people in public schools, universities, and in health care. The memo is partly a response to recent court decisions and Obama-era guidelines that expanded protections and rights for transgender people.
The National Center for Transgender Equality urged its followers on Sunday to donate and get involved to stop this memo from advancing.
"This is a direct attack on trans people," Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Rights, wrote in a statement. "This proposal is a significant escalation in the administration's war on the rights of trans people, and it is not OK. NCTE will do everything we can to stop this rule in its tracks and to stop this administration."