Local activists react to President Trump considering rollback of transgender protections
The Trump administration is looking to change how your gender is legally defined. It could dramatically alter how people who are transgender are treated by the Federal Government.
The memo, first reported on by the New York Times, shows the Department of Health and Human Services mulling the idea of defining everyone's gender by genitalia at birth with any disputes being settled by genetic testing.
Elle Halo says she started transitioning four years ago and is a member of a Milwaukee Trans support group known as SHEBA ("Sisters Helping Each Other Battle AIDS". She says the proposed change could affect their work in healthcare - and also their lives as general citizens.
"Specifically like for myself, my legal gender is female so how would that affect me? How would that affect someone trying to change their name, gender, or other parts of their identity changed," Halo said.
Under President Obama, the legal concept of gender was loosened in areas like education and health care and 'personal choice' was given more weight.
But according to the memo drafted by the Trump administration, this idea is shared: “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”
It goes on: “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.”
The new definition would get rid of the federal recognition of people who have - surgically-or-not - chose to recognize themselves as the gender they weren't born into. There are an estimated 1.4 million Americans currently in that position including Elle.
"It's just the whole administration. And I definitely don't think that the administration - regardless of their decisions or anything - is like really a feedback on the real pulse of the country or the real pulse of people locally or even federal government workers," Halo said.
There is a Transgender Community Meeting happening Wednesday where this issue will be addressed. That will be from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at 'Diverse and Resilient' at their location at 2439 N Holton Street, Milwaukee.