Assembling in front of the White House on Monday, members of the LGBTQ community and their allies gathered to deliver a clear message to President Donald Trump: transgender people “Won’t Be Erased.”
The phrase became a rallying cry at demonstrations and on social media the day after reports surfaced of a Trump administration proposal to officially deny the existence of transgender people—defining gender as biological and determined only by genitalia and sex assigned at birth, not relating to how one identifies.
Led by groups including the National Center for Transgender Equality and Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, protesters waved signs reading, “Trans rights are human rights” and “No body is illegal.”
“My existence is not defined by DNA,” Transgender activist Ruby Corado told the crowd. “Our existence is not up for negotiation…No one can take away my dignity, no one can take away my identity.”
On Sunday, the New York Times reported on the Health and Human Services Department’s (HHS) effort to erase government recognition of transgender people and their civil rights, much of which was established by the Obama administration.
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in a memo which was drafted last spring and is set to be officially presented to the Justice Department by the end of the year. “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.”
As Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) wrote on Twitter, the proposal carries an ominous tone for 1.4 million Americans whose existence it effectively denies.
“Trump wants to discriminate and attack people without consequences,” Marge Baker, executive vice president of People for the American Way said in a statement. “His administration wants to eliminate protections for LGBTQ people to appeal to his far-right base. It’s a sick, cynical attempt to bully a marginalized community and distract from his own failures as a leader. Americans must stand firm, and Congress should immediately assert itself against this disgraceful attempt at discrimination.”
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