This Week’s Developments in LGBTQ Nondiscrimination

October 26, 2018 • 11:04 am

Trump administration memo reveals plans to define transgender Americans out of existence; DOJ files another discriminatory SCOTUS brief; and Laverne Cox rallies support for Yes on 3 in Massachusetts

WASHINGTON – In a troubling report published by the New York Times this week, it was revealed that the Trump administration has plans to redefine the word ‘sex,’ essentially erasing transgender Americans from existence in the eyes of the federal government. The leaked memo prompted strong backlash from LGBTQ organizations and rallies across the country and abroad. Additionally this week, the Department of Justice filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing that businesses can fire workers based on their gender identity. Freedom for All Americans’ Weekly LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Update has all the latest developments that should be on your radar:

Trump Administration Attempts to Define Transgender Americans Out of Existence:
The New York Times reported this week that the Trump administration is considering changes to how the federal government defines “sex” — in a move designed to essentially erase transgender Americans.  The Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to establish a narrow legal definition of sex under Title IX – the federal law that bans discrimination in education on the basis of sex. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking to define sex as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” According to the report, HHS  is trying to get several other major federal agencies to adopt the same definition. Immediately, backlash to the proposal poured in, with the hashtag, #WontBeErased, taking off online. LGBTQ leaders gathered in front of the White House Monday to stand in unison against the report. “By claiming that the previous administration’s regulation was “overbroad and inconsistent,” the Trump White House is making clear they support an extremist legal philosophy that seeks to erase transgender Americans throughout federal law,” said Freedom for All Americans CEO, Masen Davis. “It’s time for Congress to recognize the overwhelming will of the American people who support equality — and the urgent need of LGBTQ Americans who face discrimination every day – and pass a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill,” he said.

Videos of Davis’ remarks at a press conference and in front of the White House earlier today are available here.

DOJ to Supreme Court: Businesses Can Discriminate Based on Gender Identity:
The Justice Department filed a brief with the Supreme Court this week arguing that businesses can discriminate against workers based on their gender identity. The Supreme Court is deciding if they will hear a case concerning a Michigan funeral home that fired a transgender employee. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the funeral home violated a federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination based on gender. The brief DOJ filed in the case is the latest attack on the LGBTQ community from the Trump administration. If the court decides to hear the case, it could potentially overturn the 6th circuit decision, opening the door to future discrimination based on gender identity. The Supreme Court will announce in the coming months if they’ve decided to take up the case.

Laverne Cox Endorses Yes on 3:
Actress and transgender rights advocate, Laverne Cox, rallied support in Boston this week for a Yes on 3 vote. On Election Day, voters in Massachusetts will be asked if they want to uphold state-wide protections for transgender people. The Emmy nominated Cox spoke at a press conference and told supporters to “choose love not fear” when voting.

Freedom for All Americans is proud to be a founding member of the Freedom for All Massachusetts’ Yes on 3 campaign, and is playing a lead role in ensuring that Bay State voters make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to uphold transgender protections at the ballot box.

Freedom for All Americans is working to secure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ Americans, no matter which state they call home. For more information on state-specific legislation, or to browse our stories of discrimination, please visit

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