President Donald Trump has responded to reports of a leaked memo showing the administration’s plans to go after transgender rights based around attempting to define gender as immutable and determined by genitalia at birth, framing the issue as necessary for protecting the nation as a whole.
“We’re looking at it. We have a lot of different concepts right now. They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender (sic) right now,” the president said Monday, while a protest took place outside the White House.
Trump was asked about his promise, made during his speech at the Republican National Convention, to protect the LGBTQ community–which he has already shown was not an honest pledge, considering his numerous attacks, including the trans military ban, rolling back trans student and inmate protections, and taking funding away from HIV/AIDS research–he claimed that’s what he was doing.
“I’m protecting everybody. I want to protect our country,” he said.
Watch Trump respond to reporters about the memo below.
TRUMP on his reported proposal to end federal protections for transgender people: "We're looking at it, we have a lot of different, ahhhhh…concepts right now. They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender right now…I want to protect our country." pic.twitter.com/Cn9BPxICD4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 22, 2018
Dr. Joshua Safer, executive director of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, and president of the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health, told Reuters the administration’s definition of gender is “not consistent with current western medicine or science in terms of how we actually operate or define sex of individuals.”
“We urge the administration to ensure all public health policy is firmly rooted in science, and to keep discrimination and political interference out of our nation’s health,” added Dr. Lisa Hollier, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, a family medicine and LGBTQ care specialist, noted the policy does not cover intersex individuals, and could result in intersex babies being assigned either male or female at birth.
The Trump administration, and conservatives generally, have continually attempted to frame granting equal rights to the trans community as somehow a threat to the wider cisgender population, with erroneous and debunked claims of bathroom access putting women and children at risk, and trans military personnel supposedly weakening troop cohesion.
This strategy mirrors earlier attempts, which are to some extent ongoing, to smear gay people as an inherit menace to public safety as well, whose liberation would destroy the sanctity of families and the stability of the broader culture.