Illustration by Zhou Ye Xin

Transgender policy limits creative expression

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The United States as well as the rest of the world has had periods of strict conservatism. Even before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, there has been a record number of attempts to remove the rights of LGBTQ+ people. In recent years, various policies were implemented by the Trump administration with the intent to further strip away the rights of the those in the transgender community. With a newly proposed anti-transgender policy, the Trump administration poses a larger threat to the transgender community now more than ever.

The policy, outlined in a draft memo by the Department of of Health and Human Services, was recently obtained by the New York Times. It would rescind President Barack Obama’s previous policy which gave a broader definition of gender. The Trump administration is now proposing to redefine gender as unchangeable so that a person is permanently considered male or female based on their sex. This is not to be confused with gender, which is a classification of its own because sex is assigned at birth whereas gender is what individuals identify as.

By proposing a policy that targets the transgender community, the Trump administration is essentially denying people of federal recognition due to their birth given sex. Instead of allowing a transgender individual to identify themself, the Trump administration is going to permit the government to make that paramount decision for them.

The policy will drastically affect the lives of over 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender by exposing them to further bullying and harassment in addition to the hostility many already may face from family members and their community. It will cause a rollback of transgender rights which will only make it more difficult for transgender people to gain access to health care and gender-appropriate bathrooms, especially if they are students. The policy excludes students from Title IX, which is meant to prevent sexual discrimination and protect their rights to use whichever restroom and locker room is in accordance with their gender identity.

According to the draft memo, the government would resolve any dispute over ambiguity by having the transgender person undergo genetic testing, which may do more harm than good as it may be considered an infringement of constitutional rights. However, according to a letter addressed to the Trump administration, signed by over 1,600 scientists, no scientific test can “unambiguously determine gender or even sex.” This highlights a potential flaw in the the Trump administration’s reasoning to restrict gender to a binary model.

Furthermore, gender is not a simple concept. The policy is an inhumane restriction which will inhibit people’s rights to identify as their preferred gender, leading to the termination of civil rights for the transgender community.

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