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The Trump Administration Attempts to Erase the Humanity of Transgender Americans

This weekend the New York Times reported upcoming plans of the Trump Administration to take its most aggressive action, to date, by erasing the lives of transgender people and gender non-binary Americans. The Administration’s attempts to “redefine” terms that are rooted in both science and reason are calculated attempts to roll back civil rights gains made during the Obama Administration. The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) released the following statement from David J. Johns, Executive Director, in rebuke and to explain what is at stake for our families with the Trump Administration’s plan to dehumanize transgender people:


“The character and nature of the current regime in power in Washington has been made even more transparent with credible reports that they are planning to rollback critical civil rights protections for transgender and gender non-binary Americans. This latest move is not only discriminatory and a huge setback for the progress we made under the Obama Administration—when our country’s leadership recognized the dignity of and need to protect the rights of all people not only in rhetoric but also in practice—specifically with respect to equal protection under the law. Nefarious plans to define gender, in civil rights statute and throughout the federal government, as based solely on what a person’s birth certificate or external genitalia, is pure evil, without medical or scientific grounding and an attack on the humanity of transgender and gender non-binary people everywhere. Our nation cannot afford to sit back and allow this toxic leadership in Washington to engage in political warfare by advancing a sick ideological agenda that includes legal dehumanization of and discrimination against the most marginalized members of our community. This is but a political play to make gains right before the midterm election. Make no mistakes about this action and its implications. Sister Angela Davis reminded us some time ago “if they come for me in the morning, they will come for you at night”. We should be clear; when our transgender family is under attack, we are all under attack. No one’s humanity should be debated or denied in a democracy, this is not America.”

According to the plans reported this weekend, the new actions of the Trump Administration would:

  • Define gender as a “biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth” in order to overturn Obama-era laws and directives that recognized and protected transgender people under federal civil rights law.
  • Apply the new definition to landmark Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance. This would also be applied to other federal law like the Affordable Care Act which currently prohibits discrimination in health care settings based on gender identity.
  • Advance the Sessions-led Justice Department to provide legal backing throughout the federal government to recognize the narrow and discriminatory definition of gender based on one’s birth certificate and genitalia at birth as the law of the land.
  • Impact young people most in all of nation’s schools as Title IX and the definition of gender is currently being debated in several cases throughout this federal courts. This move to create one definition of gender throughout the federal government among many things is meant to influence upcoming court decisions in favor of this narrow definition of gender when applied to sex discrimination.


Johns continued: “I cannot overstate how grossly out of touch these current actions are, especially when our nation continues to experience an epidemic of violence towards transgender and gender non-binary people. This year we have already seen at least 22 reports of transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means followed by painful incompetent investigations that often misgendered these victims. Of the 22 transgender people whose murders have been reported, at least 16 of those individuals were Black. And in the state of Florida alone an alarming total of 5 Black transgender women have been reported murdered. In the face of all these tragedies directly impacting our transgender family, we now have the federal government moving towards the total erasure of them in our nation’s law. We demand better as a nation and must take action by making our voices heard and voting in leadership on all levels of government that will stand up for equality and inclusivity. We must vote for representation that believes and moves to advance justice for all people.”


The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.