BY DANIEL TIRABASSI
Late last week, reports surfaced showing that the Trump administration is attempting to change the definition of gender in a way that will make it unchangeable in the future.
The administration has made the recommendation to change the definition of gender to either “male” or “female,” based on the person’s genitalia at birth. This change would remove all rights given to transgender and intersex individuals under the civil rights laws in schools and federal agencies awarded by the Obama administration.
This change would not only affect legal rights, but would also cause harm to people’s minds and bodies. Intersex babies with ambiguous genitalia and/or reproductive parts would be assigned a “gender” that they may not later identify with, causing mental, emotional and physical issues. There are also people born with an array of chromosomes that may align their identity with a gender that differs from their genitalia. And, of course, transgender people would not be able to get the medical treatment needed to live their authentic lives. Essentially, the proposed change in gender would defy science and medicine — both of which have identified that gender differs from sex.
There are an estimated 1.4 million transgender people in the United States, according to a 2016 report by The Williams Institute out of UCLA. This number is approximately ten percent of the population, according to other reports. This is a huge segment of people who would not only lose their rights and medical care, but also their entire identity.
This change in definition immediately follows New York State’s decision to allow a third gender on birth certificates following in the footsteps of California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. New Jersey is also currently allowing a third gender on government issued IDs.
This blatant attack on transgender people could have even larger repercussions in states, including Ohio, that do not allow the amendment of birth certificates for transgender people. It is unclear what will actually happen, but people who have changed their government issued identification may have to change it to match what’s on their birth certificates. This means that many Ohioans could be forced to carry identification announcing that they are transgender, putting them at an increased risk of violence.
When asked about his campaign promise to protect LGBTQ+ people after the release of the administration’s planned change, Trump responded by saying he is trying to protect all people. However, with this change possibly causing more violence towards transgender people, it is hard to fathom that is the case. In fact, it is hard not to believe that Trump is simply saying that transgender and intersex individuals are not people with a response such as this. To be completely honest, it appears that Trump and his administration are doing everything in their power to ensure that the transgender community is all but eliminated from the United States. Since he has taken office, Trump has tried to ban transgender people from serving in the military and tried to take away their right to work in federal jobs. This is just another attempt to ensure that anyone who is different will be found and stripped of their rights.
There is one easy way to help fight this injustice. Transgender, intersex people and allies can get out and vote in the upcoming election. With so many seats open in the both the House and Senate, we have the power to fill them with representation that will not allow this kind of injustice to be bestowed onto our community. Together, we can stop those who are erasing people’s identities.
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