Last week, 113 organizations that work with survivors of sexual violence and advocate for the rights of survivors wrote a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor regarding a recent Trump administration proposal to define gender as an “immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth,” a definition that would “eradicate federal recognition of the nearly two million transgender and millions of intersex individuals” in the US.

The Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading this initiative to weaponize Title IX, the federal civil rights law that guarantees equal access to education by banning gender based discrimination. They have called on the Departments of Education, Justice, and Labor to adopt their proposed uniform definition of sex.

The new proposal directly contradicts how the medical community views gender; “more than 20 of our nation’s leading medical, mental health, and healthcare organizations, including the American Medical Association, joined an amicus brief in support of transgender students’ rights.” Further, the new proposal strips the rights and identities of transgender people, and would increase the possibility of harm against transgender, non-binary, and intersex people. The proposal also makes it easier to discriminate against anyone who does not conform to the gender binary and gender stereotypes.

In the letter, the 113 organizations urge for the protection of civil rights law, which protect transgender individuals from discrimination and bias in the workplace, healthcare, and schools. In addition, the letter urges for the consideration of transgender people’s heightened vulnerability to sexual violence when creating federal civil rights policies and laws.

The letter emphasizes the importance of equal treatment of all people and calls to shift the focus from fear and ignorance to success and safety for all individuals.

Media Resources: Survivor Advocate letter 11/1/18; Feminist Newswire 10/22/18

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