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Proposed changes to federal law seek to attack transgender Americans

Monday, November 12, 2018

Just before the 2018 midterm elections, the Department of Health and Human Services leaked a memo from March 2018 about defining “sex” under federal law to restrict Americans to their designated gender at birth.

Our nation’s transgender community includes an estimated two million Americans. Any effort to define these Americans out of existence through federal regulations or legislation is a vicious attack on their dignity and experience. Such an effort also defies the consensus of the medical community regarding gender expression.

But this leak does not represent an actual change in federal law. To implement changes to federal regulations, an agency would have to issue proposed regulations for public comment. The Department of Health and Human Services has administrative authority over certain aspects of healthcare. HHS changing or proposing to change its definition of gender would not impact other administrative agencies that have authority over different aspects of federal law, e.g., the Department of Education administers federal Title IX policies in schools and universities across the country. Each federal agency would have to issue its own proposed changes, and implement those regulations after the public-comment period. And any changes to federal legislation would require passage in the House of Representatives, which will be under Democratic

Though the recent leak is an attack on the basic dignity and experience of transgender Americans, it does not change the law. It is just more evidence that the GOP officials running these agencies may hope to chip away at the hard-fought protections the LGBTQ community has secured over the past few decades.

The Chandra Law Firm LLC supports the LGBTQ community including our transgender friends, family, neighbors, and clients. And we will continue to fight to protect your rights and expand the protections for this vulnerable community.

Related Practice Areas
LGBT Rights

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