US mulls revoking recognition of transgender people: Report

Transgender Democratic Party member Christine Hallquist was lauded as a pioneer when she won a seat in the Virginia state legislature last year. She hopes to become America's first transgender governor, in next month's midterm elections. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The administration of United States President Donald Trump is considering a proposal to narrowly define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by birth genitalia, The New York Times reported on Sunday (Oct 21).

According to a memo obtained by The Times, the Department of Health and Human Services is leading the effort to establish a legal definition of sex under federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in government-funded education programmes.

It is the latest effort by President Trump's administration to chip away at protections for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community.

The department's proposed definition of gender 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 Times.

"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 Times said.

"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."

Health and Human Services has called on its own department, as well as Education, Justice and Labour, to adopt its definition in regulations that will establish uniformity in the government and increase the chance that courts will accept it, The Times said.

Mr Trump has called for the ejection of transgender people from the military, backed away from anti-discrimination laws that protect gay workers and supported the right of businesses to cite religious principles in not serving gay couples.

The State Department under Mr Trump has not filled a position created by former secretary of state John Kerry of a special envoy advocating LGBTQ rights around the world.

Official moves away from LGBTQ protection come as transgender people take on a higher national prominence.

Last year, a transgender Democratic Party member was lauded as a pioneer when she won a seat in the Virginia state legislature. In next month's midterm elections, Ms Christine Hallquist hopes to become America's first transgender governor, in Vermont.

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