U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that transgender issues were in flux and he aims to protect the country after a report that his administration was considering defining gender as male or female based on genitalia at birth drew widespread condemnation.
Transgender and gender non-confirming people have been sharing their personal stories and response to the report using the hashtag #WeWontBeErased.
HRC is among the nation's most prominent LGBTQ rights groups, and its statement Sunday called on Congress to pass legislation enshrining protections it says are at threat should the Trump administration go forward with the reported plan.
In response, Danica Roem, the first openly transgender member of the Virginia House of Delegates, tweeted a link to the Times report and wrote: "Singling out and stigmatizing your transgender constituents isn't just the antithesis of constituent service; it's risky and gets us killed".
The Department of Health and Human Services has called on the "big four" agencies that enforce some part of Title IX - the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor - to adopt its definition in regulations that will establish uniformity in the government and increase the likelihood that courts will accept it.
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There are 1.4 million Americans who recognize themselves transgender, according to the Times.
The draft memo, which has been circulating since spring, also takes aim at birth certificates, saying, "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 activist leaders, speaking amid posters reading "#WontBeErased", later addressed a protest rally outside the White House.
In a series of Tweets on Sunday, the National Centre for Transgender Equality described the changes as an "abomination" and "a reckless attack" on transgender lives. "We'll work with our allies to fight this bigotry", the Jewish group said.
And members of the transgender community, and supporters of equal rights, voiced their outrage on social media. It would specify that sex is "immutable", thereby effectively removing any legal recognition for transgender individuals. The Transgender Law Center said that the proposal is an effort "to erase our very existence as trans people", and accused the Trump administration of planning "the destruction of our communities".
In Chicago, Reyna Ortiz said being transgender for 25 years has prepared her for setbacks such as the Trump administration proposal.