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News Organizational Misbehavior

Transgender People Reject Bigoted Policy, Say They #WontBeErased

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#WontBeErased hashtag erupted hours after The New York Times reported the Trump administration’s push via a memo for a new legal definition of gender, which would essentially eradicate the estimated 1.4 million Americans who identify as a different gender than the one assigned assigned at birth.


Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said, “This is a really intrusive policy that doesn’t make any sense scientifically.”

Keisling quickly planned a response, including protests and the hashtag #WontBeErased.

“What this feels like to transgender people is trying to make us invisible, trying to say that we don’t exist, trying to say that we are nothing,” she said.

Following that, on Sunday night, a rally for transgender rights in New York took place, and another in front of the White House on Monday with hundreds in attendance.

The message: “November is coming.”

Jay Brown, a deputy director of the Human Rights Campaign, said there were 10 million L.G.B.T.Q. voters and “millions” more who were allies.

The Department of Health and Human Services has called on the “Big Four” agencies that enforce some part of Title IX — the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor — to adopt a new legal definition of sex as male or female in regulations.

The new definition would be unchangeable and determined by the genitalia a person is born with. Disputes would be settled by genetic testing.

“You saw such a massive response because this attack on the trans community is essentially trying to erase the trans community from the face of this country, and we’re not going to stand for that,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and chief executive of GLAAD, a media advocacy group for L.G.B.T. Q. people.

This move would affect everything from sex discrimination complaints at higher education institutions receiving federal funding, to health protections in health care law, to employment rights, for example for the many LGBT people serving in the military.

“Transgender people are frightened,” said Sarah Warbelow, the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, which presses for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. “At every step where the administration has had the choice, they’ve opted to turn their back on transgender people.”

Roger Severino, the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the department, declined to speak about the memo.

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