No human should be erased. Hopefully, this statement is obvious to everyone. Every life has a voice, a purpose and a reason to be respected. This isn’t a #AllLivesMatter statement. This is about the lives of transgender people.
On Sunday, Oct. 21, the New York Times released a statement that probably wasn’t noticed by most. The Trump administration is reportedly considering adopting a new definition of gender. The Department of Health and Human Services is circulating a memo that gender is to be specifically assigned at birth and is unchangeable, either male or female, under Title IX. Title IX is the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance. This addition could harm, erase and defy federal regulation and the civil rights protections of transgender people.
From a medical standpoint, this could have drastic effects. This could mean that transgender people could be denied healthcare and health insurance, which is already a problem. It could also harm intersex people. Intersexuality is a medical condition where a person is born without a biological sex that fits into the two rigid boxes of male or female.
Living life as a transgender person is already so horrendous most of us can’t comprehend what it is be like. Transgender people are regularly attacked, raped and murdered just for existing. Sadly, it isn’t hard to find examples of this happening in the news.
The problem spans more than physical assaults. Transgender individuals are regularly mocked and parodied. Ever seen a skit where a man puts on a dress, and it’s seen as a funny joke? Those seemingly “harmless” things directly contribute to the image that transgender people are a joke.
Trump and his administration have already infringed upon many rights that belong to transgender individuals. Earlier this year, transgender people were barred from joining the military. Imagine caring so much about a person’s gender identity that you say they cannot fight, serve or die for the safety of a country. How patriotic.
I guarantee you have interacted with a transgender person at least once. They live in our communities, work jobs, go to our schools and contribute to our society. Transgender people just want to live their lives comfortably. If you identify as cisgender, the sex you were born with, imagine if everyone insisted you were the opposite gender. It would feel pretty crappy, right? That’s how transgender people feel.
If you care about the rights of human beings, this matters to you. If a government administration said that they would erase people of color, you would definitely notice and care, even if you were white. The proposed addition to Title IX is purely to harm the rights of transgender people. There is no other reason.
The future could change in an instant. One proposed idea one day can spark any kind of action. It is our duty as Americans to speak out for the lives of human beings. We never know who or what something like this could affect.
By: Cat Whiting, Opinion Editor