Trump and Republicans set to determine biological definition of gender at birth

During the Obama administration, civil rights protections were expanded to better include transgender people.

The rule is coming out via the Department of Health and Human Services under Alex Azar.

For the past year, the Department of Health and Human Services has privately argued that the term "sex" was never meant to include gender identity or even homosexuality, and that the lack of clarity allowed the Obama administration to wrongfully extend civil rights protections to people who should not have them.

The Department of Health and Human Services has undertaken an effort across several government departments to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex, the Times said, citing a government memo that it obtained. The provision prohibits discrimination based on race, colour, national origin, sex, age or disability in "any health program or activity" that receives federal financial assistance.

A very narrow definition of sex as only male or female at birth, as Trump's administration reportedly wants, would roll back much of the transgender rights advances that took place while Barack Obama was President.

"A federal court has blocked HHS's rule on gender identity and termination of pregnancy as contrary to law and infringing the rights of healthcare providers across the country", Severino's statement said.

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A draft of the Trump administration memo says gender should be determined "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable", the memo says, according to the Times.

It went on to say: "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". Those who challenge the government definition legally would have to submit to genetic testing, according to the report.

An HHS spokeswoman declined to comment on what she called "allegedly leaked documents" but cited a ruling by a conservative USA district judge as a guide to transgender policy.

"Transgender people are frightened", said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, which presses for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The move essentially would do away with protections afforded to around 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender. Many civil rights groups have pointed to other court rulings that said bias against transgender people represented discrimination under Title IX and other laws.

The White House's new definition, if implemented, would mark a significant rollback of Obama-era policies that largely allowed people to choose how they identify rather than be determined by the sex assigned at birth.

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