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White House May Make Big Move on Defining Gender

'NYT' says proposal would do away with recognition of transgender status
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2018 6:23 AM CDT
Updated Oct 22, 2018 7:03 AM CDT
A file photo of signage outside a restroom at 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, N.C.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

(Newser) – The Trump administration may do away with the legal recognition of transgender people, reports the New York Times. Under a proposal in the works by the Department of Health and Human Services, a person's gender would be legally defined according to the genitals they had at birth. "Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth," reads a memo obtained by the newspaper that is reportedly in circulation within the department. "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." That change would affect 1.4 million Americans.

The new rule would guide decisions based on Title IX, which bars gender discrimination in federally funded education programs, and the department is expected to send its final draft to the Justice Department for assessment by the end of the year. The Obama administration had taken an opposite approach, allowing people to identify with a gender not defined at birth, a policy that set off controversies over public bathrooms and locker rooms. Gay rights advocates are alarmed at the new development. "This is a direct attack on the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people," says Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, per USA Today. He called on Congress to act if the rule went into effect. (A bicyclist calls her loss to a trans rival unfair.)

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