As the Trump administration works to roll back rights for transgender people, a majority of Americans say they’ve become more supportive toward transgender rights in recent years, according to a national survey released Tuesday.
“We have many views that are similar,” Trump said of the man who would rather his son be dead than gay.
On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration plans to define “gender” based on people’s external genitalia, as part of their larger efforts to roll back protections for transgender Americans. They say they plan to implement a definition of gender “grounded in science.” As a physician who studies gender, I can tell you this is ludicrous. There is no scientific definition of gender.
In Mississippi, House Bill 1523, also known as the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act, also known as the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, goes into effect this week. It explicitly legalizes discrimination if it is motivated by one of three beliefs: that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, that sexual relations can take place only within such a marriage, and that gender is an immutable biological characteristic. The law was passed last year and immediately blocked by a federal judge, but last week a circuit court reversed the ruling. Doctors, lawyers, and adoption agencies, among others, are now licensed to discriminate on the basis of sexual and gender identity.
Mississippi’s is the harshest of a recent wave of so-called religious-freedom laws; its enactment is only the latest blow to the rights of L.G.B.T. Americans in what has felt like a year of injuries. In February, the Trump Administration rescinded protections allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice. In May, President Trump signed an executive order directing his Attorney General to support and defend religious-freedom laws like the one in Mississippi. In July, Trump tweeted out a ban on transgender service members. In September, the Justice Department filed a Supreme Court brief in support of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. This month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued detailed guidelines based on Trump’s religious-freedom executive order and, separately, instructed U.S. Attorneys to stop interpreting federal law as protecting transgender employees from discrimination on the basis of sex. This timeline is probably missing something; reversals in L.G.B.T. rights have been unremitting.
Gavin Grimm, a senior at Gloucester High in Gloucester, Va., sued his school board two years ago after it barred him from the boys’ bathroom.
(Nikki Kahn / The Washington Post)
“The Trump administration signaled Friday that it was changing course on the previous administration’s efforts to expand transgender rights, submitting a legal brief withdrawing the government’s objections to an injunction that had blocked guidance requiring that transgender students be allowed to use restrooms that match their gender identity.”