In the past week, the Trump Administration has proposed legislation to eliminate the recognition of transgender individuals, which has deafening effects for those who already have faced a history of erasure.
Recent buzz on this issue comes from claims of retracting transgender identifying people from civil rights protections — meaning these individuals would be forced to identify as the gender on their birth certificate to share the same rights as binary gender identifiers.
For those who are new to the gender and sexuality conversation, here are a few definitions to clear up any confusion on the topic:
- Someone identifying as transgender’s personal gender identity does not align with their assigned biological sex at birth.
- Binary gendered people are those that identify as either male or female.
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So what would it mean if transgender rights were revoked? First of all, the 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming would no longer be recognized by any government institution as an identity other than their biological one.
Not only that, but this would change the way public schools are able to recognize their students — demolishing their ability to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.
Federal employees would no longer be able to use gender-neutral pronouns, and anyone who interacts with federal institutions will not be recognized by their chosen identity, only by their biological one.
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As for implications in the medical field, failing to recognize transgender people will cause the current levels of discrimination trans people face to increase dramatically. The Trump Administration is advocating for the disregard of complaints filed about the improper care received by transgender people.
In addition, the new rules outlined by the administration would make it more difficult for transgender people to go through with genital-affirming surgery — forcing them to remain their biological sex, and only receive the care associated with binary genders.
This creates greater risk for medical providers hoping to provide care or gender affirming surgery to trans individuals. These policies put in place may move those looking for surgery to choose more dangerous, covert ways of obtaining the medical resources they need, putting their lives at risk in order to preserve their true identities.
For those of us who identify with a traditional binary gender, we are in the majority and hold privilege in being able to ignore what the implications of eradicating transgender identification look like on a federal level.
In that privilege, however, we have the ability to defy these rules of identification and see people as they wish to be seen, not as our government sees them.
We need to defy these standards because by refusing to acknowledge someone else’s truth hinders their ability to live a full and safe life.
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The ability to feel comfortable in one’s own skin and one’s own country is a fundamental human right that often goes unacknowledged but is easy to fix. The power of this new legislation is substantial, but it is only as impactful as we allow it to be.