New gender memo is ‘dangerous precedent’ against LGBT community, SLO County advocates say

San Luis Obispo County LGBTQ groups responded to an unreleased Trump administration memo more narrowly defining a person’s sex with horror and concern on Monday.

“As local organizations that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, we are horrified about news reported over the weekend that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to narrowly define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, with the choice of only male and female,” read a joint statement from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, Tranz Central Coast, 5 Cities Hope LGBT and House of Pride and Equality.

“This is dismissive of both science and individual rights,” they wrote. ”We know there are many combinations of chromosomes, hormones, and genitals present in the variety of human experience, and our organizations work to increase the physical health and mental well being of all individuals on the gender and sexuality spectrum.”

The new definition would define sex as either male or female, determined by genitalia at birth, according to The New York Times, which reported the news of the memo on Sunday. It would be unchangeable, and any dispute about sex would have to be clarified by genetic testing.

The memo came out as the Department of Health and Human Services spearheads an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX.

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive federal funding.

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According to the New York Times, the department argues that Obama-era rulings wrongfully extended the definition of sex to include gender identity, thus extending civil rights protections to those who identify as a gender different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Critics say the new definition would erase federal recognition of the 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender, including those who have had sex reassignment surgeries.

Local groups said the new definition would “increase discrimination on the basis of gender identity in educational settings,” among other impacts.

“This rule will not eliminate the decisions made by dozens of federal courts over the last two decades, but in addition to the attempt to discriminate against transgender military personnel and remove bathroom protections, the dangerous precedent of a course specifically against the LGBTQ+ community is being set,” they wrote.

The groups concluded the statement saying they “urge the community to stay vigilant as we work to keep protections hard fought for and recently won.”

“We strongly oppose any change to the Title IX definitions around sex assigned at birth and gender identity,” they wrote.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie
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