The Trump administration is considering changing the definition of gender to be based on genitalia at birth, the New York Times reports.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to define gender under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in academia, according to a memo obtained by the newspaper,
The new policy would roll back the definition former President Barack Obama had adopted to reflect gender as an individual’s decision.
The department is now recommending the government come up with a new definition of gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the memo allegedly says. “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 alleged memo has sparked outcry among transgender rights advocates, celebrities and human rights groups. The hashtag #WeWontBeErased began circulating on social media shortly after the report was published.
The National Centre for Transgender Equality called the reported changes as an “abomination” and “a reckless attack” on transgender lives.
“This takes a position that what the medical community understands about their patients — what people understand about themselves — is irrelevant because the government disagrees,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, who led the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights in the Obama administration and helped write transgender guidance that is being undone.
“Transgender people are frightened,” Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow told the Times. “At every step where the administration has had the choice, they’ve opted to turn their back on transgender people.”