The former Barack Obama administration outraged many conservatives when they threw open the doors of gender identity and sexual orientation at the federal level, extending newly created protections and outlining benefits for individuals who identify themselves as a gender other than what they were born as. But it doesn’t look like that will be the case for much longer.
The Donald Trump administration is reportedly considering narrowing the federal definitions of “sex” and “gender” in a way that critics say would exclude transgender individuals from those recently created governmental protections and benefits.
Health and Human Services memo
A recent, lengthy report from the New York Times outlined a memo obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that sought to more narrowly define sex and gender as unchangeable biological characteristics that an individual is born with.
The memo suggested that agencies should consider adopting a clear and uniform definition of gender and sex that would be determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
In essence, the new definition would define an individual’s sex as either male or female, dependent upon the genitalia an individual was born with.
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the HHS memo stated. “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 HHS memo was alleged to have been prompted by activist court rulings in recent years that upheld the Obama administration’s loose and open definition of sex and gender that allowed for and encouraged the confusing growth of the gender identity movement on the federal and state level.
“Courts and the previous administration took advantage of this circumstance to include gender identity and sexual orientation in a multitude of agencies, and under a multitude of laws,” the memo stated, which, of course, “led to confusion and negative policy consequences in health care, education and other federal contexts.”
Focus on Title IX
The memo from HHS reportedly urges other federal agencies and departments — specifically the Departments of Education, Justice, and Labor — to similarly redefine sex and gender along biological lines for the purposes of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on gender as it relates to educational programs that receive federal financial assistance.
As could be expected, liberals supportive of the fluid gender identity movement and transgender advocacy groups are incensed by this move from the Trump administration, which they say will “eradicate federal recognition” of the roughly 1.4 million Americans — about 0.004 percent of the population — who identify as transgender, including both those who’ve undergone a surgical change and those who have not.
What critics of the move fail to admit is that transgender people can continue to live their day-to-day lives identifying as whatever gender they desire — this change would only affect how they are recognized by the federal government in a select number of circumstances.
Critics and those who seek to cause discord in the population can be as mad as they want, but this proposed move by the Trump administration is the right one — and it will restore common sense and sanity to the federal government, at least in regard to sex and gender identity.