While the full legal implications of the Trump memo are currently unknown, the community resistance is already in full effect. We will fight Trump’s policies in the courts, through judicial education, community organizing, publicity and protest. Queer and trans communities have long fought for the right to exist and will continue to thrive in the face of legal threats.
The memo, which according to the New York Times has been circulating since last spring, aims to deny federal legal protections for trans and gender non-conforming people by proposing “that key government agencies ... adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender … [that] would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.”
By defining sex this way, and essentially collapsing sex and gender, agencies such as the Department of Education, Department of Justice, and Department of Health and Human Services would not consider one’s gender identity to be protected under laws like Title IX, which prohibit discrimination based on sex -- even though courts and the past administration have accepted gender identity and sexual orientation as protected under the law.
Under Obama, federal courts have historically held that gender identity discrimination falls under sex discrimination and is protected by Title IX of the Constitution. Trump hopes to erase transgender and gender diverse identities by making policies that remove legal protections for people whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.
For states like Washington, which have state law protections like the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) to explicitly protect against anti-trans discrimination in schools, workplaces, and public accommodations, the memo is less impactful than for states that do not have these protections (which is a significant number of states).
The Lavender Rights Project is currently reaching out to community leaders and organizations to draft an action plan in preparation for some of the changes that could result from this brazen attack on the communities we collectively serve.
During a time of voter suppression, Kavanaugh, and 2-year-old migrant children going before judges after being separated from their families at the border, this news comes at a time when many of us are already feeling raw, attacked, and overwhelmed.
Trump doesn’t understand that he cannot define us out of existence, and that no racist, transphobic, xenophobic policies will stop the resistance. We will harness our community power to push back, survive and thrive.
You may not feel strong right now --we feel scared for our loved ones, for our futures, for how far this will go.
We will fight for and alongside you. The Lavender Rights Project and other organizations locally and nationwide are committed to serving trans and gender non-conforming people, regardless of this or any past or future administration’s stance, and that will not change.
We will use community organizing, education and advocacy to protect ourselves, and force legal change.
If you’re experiencing discrimination based on gender identity, contact us today.
Looking for ways to get involved and fight back? Check out this article from out.com: