The Trump administration is attempting to do away with the official term of "transgender" by changing the definition of gender to one of a biological condition determined at birth as either male or female. Many civil rights groups have pointed to other court rulings that said bias against transgender people represented discrimination under Title IX and other laws.
It also said the move would be relevant in particular to a pair of proposed rules, one from the Education Department on sex discrimination at schools and colleges and another at HHS on health programs that receive federal funding. Those who challenge the government definition legally would have to submit to genetic testing, according to the report.
Transgender activists rallied in New York City last night after it was revealed that the Trump Administration is trying to redefine "gender".
An HHS spokeswoman declined to comment on what she called "allegedly leaked documents" but cited a ruling by a conservative U.S. district judge as a guide to transgender policy. The Administration's plans are in direct conflict with a growing trend in federal court decisions affirming that sexual orientation and gender identity are covered under our nation's civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination based on "sex". "The court order remains in full force and effect today and HHS is abiding by it as we continue to review the issue".
Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights at the department, declined to answer detailed questions about the memo or his role in inter-agency discussions about how to revise the definition of sex under Title IX.
"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 allegedly says.
While many transgender activists argue that a person's gender is largely their own choice, a department memo seen by the Times argues that a person's sex should be defined "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable", with a person's genitals at birth defining their gender.
It said additionally that HHS officials were looking to a 2016 federal court ruling on a provision of Obamacare, where Judge Reed O'Connor said, "Congress did not understand "sex" to include 'gender identity'".
Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, rose up against various Obama-era initiatives, including a national campaign to allow people to choose public restrooms or dormitory housing, for example, based on their stated gender. The Department of Defense also announced earlier this year that it would ban most transgender people from serving in the military, except under exceptional circumstances.