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Trump administration considering erasing transgenderism via definition change

Talon Smith, Reporter

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The Trump administration is considering defining gender as a biological and unchangeable condition determined by genetics and genitalia at birth, according to The New York Times.

This change would effectively erase transgenderism in the eyes of the law. It would remove all legal protections on transgender and non-gender conforming people.

Approximately 1.4 million transgender adults in America would be affected by this change, according to a survey from a UCLA think tank, the Williams Institute.

The Department of Health and Human Services, according to The New York Times, is driving the effort to establish a legal definition of gender and sex.

A memo obtained by the New York Times said, “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth. The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

The memo argued important government agencies need to adopt an uniform definition of gender. This information has since caused an uproar from many differing groups of people.

A Health and Human Services spokesperson said, according to NBC News, “We do not comment on alleged leaked documents.”

President Trump told NBC Washington, “We have a lot of different concepts right now… They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender right now — you know that as well as I do — and we’re looking at it very seriously.”

Trump added, “I’m protecting everybody.”

The LGBTQ community and those who identify as transgender believe quite the opposite.

On Twitter the hashtag “#WontBeErased” has risen in popularity as a protest against the drafted memo, according to NBC News,

The National Center for Transgender Equality said on their Twitter, “Make no mistake, trans people are under direct attack from the Trump Administration – but we #WontBeErased. We’re here. You can’t define us out of existence.”

This is not the first time the current administration has attempted to take away rights from transgender people, according to the NBC News article.

President Trump endorsed a plan to restrict the military service of transgender people, the article states. This endorsement followed tweets by Trump that had announced his initial plan to ban transgender people from the military.

Another attempt to reduce transgender rights took place when the Trump administration scraped Obama-era policies that sided with transgender students in their choice of school bathrooms.

Looking past the political ramifications, STAT News said, “… the proposal raises fundamental questions about something else: biology.”

Rachel Levin, a Pomona College neuroscientist who studies the development of sex, called the memo an insult to basic science.

Levin, among others, agree that “[…] it doesn’t make sense from a scientific perspective to narrowly define sex as a fixed condition based on a person’s genitalia or genetic makeup.”

Mutations in the X and Y chromosomes can produce several results different from what are considered typical genitalia, the article explains. In addition to those results, variations in the developments brought on by these chromosomes cause even more differing results that stray from the gender binary.

The existence of these conditions contradict the proposed definition for gender, leaving those with these conditions out of the mix.

Melissa Wilson Sayres, who studies sex-based biology and the evolution of sex chromosomes at Arizona State University, said, “[People with these conditions are] not going to have a place to go.”

The rest of the memo brought up even more issues to scientists. “Under the proposal leaked to the Times, disputes about someone’s gender could be clarified with genetic testing[…]” according to Time.

Amy Weimer, a primary care physician and the founder of UCLA’s Gender Health Program, spoke to time about these issues. Weimer questioned the accuracy of such genetic tests, “… there’s not a genetic test that can reliably predict a person’s gender.”  Weimer explained gender is affected by several factors besides DNA.

If this definition was put in place, “the word I would use,” Weimer said, “is ‘catastrophic.’”

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Trump administration considering erasing transgenderism via definition change