Trump's potential rules won't erase LGBTQ Americans

The Trump administration is ...

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 4:43 AM
Updated: Oct 23, 2018 4:43 AM

The Trump administration is reportedly in the process of announcing rules that will attempt to define gender strictly and unchangeably based on one's genitals at birth -- effectively trying to redefine gender's legal meaning to erase transgender people who identified as such under expanded gender identity provisions put in place by the Obama administration.

According to The New York Times, the Department of Health and Human Services is leading "an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance." Such an approach would, quoting the memo, make the determination "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable."

Demographic groups

Discrimination

Gays and lesbians

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Population and demographics

Science

Sex and gender issues

Societal issues

Society

Transgender persons

US federal government

White House

Donald Trump

Political Figures - US

Nothing could be further from the truth. Try as they might, the Trump administration cannot eliminate lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people with a stroke of the pen. Moreover, this proposal is contrary to science and to the law. Turning Title IX, a law designed to help fight discrimination, into a weapon against them will not stop LGBTQ people from living their authentic lives.

As to "science," it is abundantly clear there has never been a true gender binary -- just male and female -- in nature. In fact, such an approach denies the existence of intersex people, those whose sex characteristics do not correspond with our classic notions of male or female. Up to 1.7% of people are born intersex, a percentage comparable to the number of redheaded people -- not a minimal number. To suggest this rule approach is rooted in science is simply wrong.

Culturally, humans have never fallen neatly into the gender binary, either. Other cultures have various forms of nonbinary genders. For example, Tahitian culture embraces the mahu, people of uncertain gender. Some Native American cultures embraced two-spirit people. Both Thai and Indian cultures have recognized nonbinary genders. This is not to say that such nonbinary genders have been fully embraced, but they are recognized, in parts of the United States as well as elsewhere.

The suggestion that such a rule is rooted in science is also belied by another scientific community: medicine. The medical community in the United States accepts that gender identity is not determined by one's genitalia at birth. Gender is a social construct and is not biologically determined. The American Psychiatric Association notes that gender dysphoria "involves a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify." The treatment, though, is not to force someone to accept the gender assigned at birth. To the contrary, it is to work through aligning their gender identity and expression in ways that remove the conflict. In other words, the problem is not the person's gender identity; instead it is the stress created by the discordance between that identity and the assigned gender, much of which is caused by societal condemnation.

The courts have been surprisingly progressive pioneers on this issue, having long recognized that gender is actually a social construction, not a biological phenomenon. As early as 1989, in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, the Supreme Court concluded that discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination based on sex stereotyping, such as a woman who acts in an overly masculine manner. Other courts, such as the federal appellate courts sitting in Boston and Atlanta, have already extended this reasoning to protect transgender people from discrimination.

It is not clear whether the Trump rule could overturn such judicial precedent. It is true that, generally, courts are supposed to defer to interpretations of the law made by administrative agencies. So, in theory, courts might be willing to revisit these earlier interpretations of the law in the face of a contrary administrative rule. Yet, perhaps ironically, the conservative justices on the US Supreme Court seemed poised to reject such deference. So, the Trump administration's move may ultimately be rejected by the courts.

Bizarrely, such a rule would intrude on the province of the states. Protecting states' sovereignty -- a concern known as federalism -- has traditionally been a conservative issue as well. Yet under the proposed rule, the sex on one's original birth certificate would control the issue of gender, even though most states do allow people to change their gender marker. The rule would usurp the power of the states.

The impact of such a rule can cause harm beyond the removal of anti-discrimination protections. In my work, I have explored how the government's expressions of disfavor toward certain groups -- particularly LGBTQ people -- does inflict a general harm, suggesting that such people are lesser and other. This rule is a concrete example of such a harm.

And such marginalization can have concrete consequences. Suicide rates are higher in the LGBTQ community, given the lingering social and legal discrimination the community faces. And such rhetoric may encourage more violence against LGBTQ people.

The Trump administration may indeed harm LGBTQ people with this impending strike of a proverbial pen, but they cannot erase us. We exist, period. We always have and always will. The only question is whether we will receive respect and protection from discrimination. Many large corporations are affording us such protections. And a majority of Americans believe we should not be discriminated against. It's too bad the Trump administration is so behind the times.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61516

Reported Deaths: 1701
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19472835
Ramsey7658267
Dakota4480106
Anoka3739115
Stearns290620
Washington215545
Nobles17656
Olmsted174723
Scott157419
Mower11032
Rice10388
Blue Earth9275
Wright8925
Carver8733
Clay78540
Sherburne7328
Kandiyohi6981
St. Louis57019
Todd4262
Lyon4253
Freeborn3601
Steele3512
Nicollet34213
Benton3203
Watonwan3080
Winona26416
Beltrami2410
Crow Wing23914
Le Sueur2241
Martin2075
Chisago2041
Goodhue1979
McLeod1970
Otter Tail1973
Cottonwood1780
Becker1611
Pipestone1579
Polk1544
Waseca1490
Itasca14712
Douglas1431
Carlton1380
Unassigned13441
Pine1290
Dodge1280
Isanti1280
Murray1221
Chippewa1061
Morrison931
Wabasha920
Brown892
Faribault870
Jackson860
Meeker862
Rock850
Sibley842
Koochiching793
Pennington751
Cass732
Mille Lacs713
Fillmore650
Renville655
Lincoln580
Grant563
Swift551
Roseau520
Yellow Medicine520
Pope480
Norman410
Aitkin401
Houston400
Kanabec371
Redwood360
Hubbard340
Wilkin343
Marshall290
Mahnomen271
Wadena270
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake210
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle80
Cook50
Lake of the Woods40
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49024

Reported Deaths: 930
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10351207
Woodbury372752
Black Hawk313466
Linn239988
Johnson210719
Dallas188835
Buena Vista179412
Scott172714
Dubuque168631
Marshall144626
Pottawattamie132526
Story116714
Wapello90433
Muscatine84848
Webster8138
Crawford7303
Sioux6373
Cerro Gordo63417
Warren5691
Tama55329
Jasper47926
Wright4731
Plymouth4639
Clinton4103
Dickinson3824
Louisa37814
Washington30010
Boone2593
Hamilton2481
Franklin24110
Bremer2277
Clarke2023
Clay1961
Carroll1931
Emmet1924
Des Moines1862
Hardin1840
Shelby1841
Marion1740
Benton1601
Poweshiek1598
Floyd1572
Jackson1561
Allamakee1554
Mahaska14017
Cedar1331
Guthrie1325
Jones1322
Buchanan1291
Henry1274
Hancock1222
Madison1222
Butler1212
Humboldt1181
Lee1173
Pocahontas1162
Delaware1151
Lyon1142
Harrison1091
Cherokee1081
Clayton1043
Iowa981
Taylor980
Winneshiek971
Page940
Monona910
Kossuth900
Mills890
Jefferson860
Palo Alto860
Sac850
Fayette840
Winnebago840
Calhoun832
Osceola830
Grundy791
Mitchell780
Union771
Cass741
Monroe747
Lucas714
Worth660
Davis602
Montgomery594
Chickasaw540
Appanoose493
Howard490
Fremont420
Greene420
Keokuk371
Van Buren361
Ida310
Adair300
Audubon281
Decatur230
Ringgold221
Wayne201
Adams160
Unassigned30
Rochester
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 59°
Mason City
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 61°
Albert Lea
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Austin
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 61°
Charles City
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Clouds clear tonight, tracking sunshine for Tuesday!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sean Weather 8/11

Image

Affinity Plus Credit Union holding technology drop off

Image

More parents switching to homeschooling

Image

Car crashes into Mason City home

Image

Dangerous week for cyclists

Image

Sara's 10pm Forecast - Monday

Image

Iowa fall practices begin Monday

Image

How you can raise funds with a local tech companies app

Image

Sara's 6pm Forecast - Monday

Image

Saving A Historic Church

Community Events