"This is his code for 'make them disappear'."
Cher, Orange Is The New Black actress Laverne Cox and the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race are among the celebrities protesting the Trump administration’s potential new anti-trans policy.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump’s government is considering legally defining gender as wholly biological and based on the genitalia people are born with. The article reads:
The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined ‘on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.’ The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with… Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.
According to the New York Times article, if this goes ahead, about 1.4m transgender Americans would lose the right to be legally recognised as their correct gender.
The news has been met with widespread alarm by the LGBTQ+ community – actress Laverne Cox, who shot to fame on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, wrote:
We must not give up the fight. But in the face of this affront on my existence and the existence of my community, I choose love not fear. We exist and always have.
Legendary singer Cher tweeted her rage on behalf of her son, Chaz Bono, who is transgender:
Trump Administration Eyes Defining Transgender Out of Existence via @NYTimes
Fk These Ppl.Will MY SON Be Sent To INTERNMENT CAMP 2 Live with LATINO Children,& Be Kept In Cages in Places where🇺🇸Cant See Them.THIS IS”HIS CODE”4,..MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR #MBS https://t.co/UrXYSo5vK5
— Cher (@cher) October 21, 2018
I can’t begin to express the rage I feel toward an administration that is trying to redefine me out of existence. Just another gift for his small minded base, terrified of the diversity that has always made America exceptional! #Vote https://t.co/OrAPEnaK9r
— Chaz Bono (@ChazBono) October 21, 2018
Peppermint, the first trans woman to reach the final on RuPaul’s Drag Race, said she was “honestly terrified” by the news, while fellow drag queen Shea Coulée encouraged her followers to vote in the upcoming November elections.
I woke to this. I'm honestly terrified. Basically TRUMP asked every gov agency define sex as only man or woman NOT Changable. only birth sex will be valid. disputes to be settled by genetic tests. He's already put people in charge who will approve this.https://t.co/pMDm3hzD1Z
— Peppermint (@Peppermint247) October 21, 2018
You don't tell women what to do with their bodies.
You don't get to define gender.
You don't have the qualifications to do so.
You don't have a spine.
You don't have a clue.
We won't take this lying down.
November is coming.
Look how orange you fucking look girl…
— Shea Couleé (@SheaCoulee) October 21, 2018
The fight for trans rights is in the news closer to home too – in the UK, activists were encouraging the public to submit feedback for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which controls how trans people have their gender recognised.
Applicants are required to hand over evidence proving that they have lived as their chosen gender for two years, and get a diagnosis of ‘gender dysphoria’ from two different doctors. A ‘gender recognition panel’ then decides if the person should be allowed to change their legal gender. The Act does not currently recognise non-binary identities.
The charity Stonewall is calling for the government to adopt a system of self-determination, as we have in Ireland – this allows trans people to change their legal gender by signing a form in the presence of a solicitor.