In response to Trump administration’s memo define gender to exclude transgender people, organizers, activists say we #WontBeErased
On Sunday morning, the New York Times obtained an unreleased Trump administration draft memo which would define gender as a person’s sex at birth. In response, LGBT activists and organizers are mobilizing to protest the memo’s proposal.
According to the memo, the Department of Health and Human Services is trying to determine a definition of gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The memo defines a person’s gender as their assigned biological sex at birth. Any changes to gender would have to use genetic testing as an “objective basis.”
Roger Severino, the director of the Office for Civil Rights at the department, refused to answer questions about the memo.
“Transgender people are frightened,” said Sarah Warbelow, the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, “At every step where the administration has had the choice, they’ve opted to turn their back on transgender people.”
However, there has been a fierce pushback against the memo’s proposal. The executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, met with staff and organizers to respond to the drafted memo. They created the hashtag, #WontBeErased, an online campagin to push back against a government that is trying to erase transgender people from society. Within a couple hours, the hashtag #WontBeErased was trending all over social media to affirm transgender people’s identities. Multiple activists, celebrities and politicians denounced the Trump administration’s push to rollback on civil rights for LGBTQ people.
— National Center for Transgender Equality (@TransEquality) October 22, 2018
The government may be living in an alternate universe, but we as a society & culture know who we are and know our truth and must stick together and raise our voices so we can educate them about gender identities. #TransRightsAreHumanRights #WontBeErased
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) October 22, 2018
We must not give up the fight. But in the face of this affront on my existence and the existence of my community I choose love not fear. We exist and always have.
Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence https://t.co/G4rKB1mVfe
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) October 21, 2018
Sarah Kate Ellis, the president GLAAD, told the New York Times, “You saw such a massive response because this attack on the trans community is essentially trying to erase the trans community from the face of this country, and we’re not going to stand for that.”
Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Joe Kennedy III took to Twitter to denounce the memo’s proposal.
This nation's darkest days have always come when our government deemed civil rights conditional. @realDonaldTrump’s ongoing assault on transgender Americans betrays our most fundamental responsibility to treat and see each other as human. #WontBeErased (1/2) https://t.co/ua9cGTHnK7
— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) October 22, 2018
The cruelty and bigotry of this administration truly has no limit. We should be doing everything we can to protect our transgender brothers and sisters. https://t.co/pD4dZ6tULc
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) October 21, 2018
Several hundred LGBT activists and protestors rallied outside the White House, shouting, “We will not be erased.”
Many noted that the November midterm elections were upcoming and that they would use the opportunity to hold politicians accountable.
Rallies for transgender rights also took place in New York.