WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under civil rights law.
A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programmes, including in education and health care, recognising gender largely as an individual’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth.
Now the department of health and human services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programmes that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo.
The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”
proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by the NYT.
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring.
“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 new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognise themselves — surgically or otherwise — as a gender other than the one they were born into.
Roger Severino, director of the office for civil rights at the department, declined to answer questions about the memo.
But other officials confirmed that their push to limit the definition of sex resulted from their own reading of the laws.