The Trump administration could be about to remove healthcare protections for trans individuals.
Equal rights campaigners have said that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is moving to essentially hollow out protections introduced under President Barack Obama.
If the move goes ahead, it could allow healthcare providers, insurance companies and hospitals to discriminate against trans patients.
Many trans rights campaigners fear this could exacerbate the high levels of discrimination trans individuals already face.
The new policies are expected within the next 10 days, Politico reports.
Trans rights advocates have condemned the US government multiple times. Under President Donald Trump, the US has seen a sharp decline in trans rights over the past two years.
The definition of the word ‘sex’
The Affordable Care Act, an Obama-era healthcare reform banned discrimination on the grounds of a person’s sex.
However, the way the term ‘sex’ is defined has been a continued point of contention in the US.
Under the Obama administration, the definition of ‘sex’ was interpreted to include gender identity, thereby giving protection to trans patients. However, the Trump White House says that this definition goes too far.
The government cited a 2016 ruling by a Texas judge.
The judge issued a nationwide temporary injunction that blocked that provision of the Affordable Care Act. This followed multiple groups filed lawsuits claiming the definition violated their religious beliefs.
the White House released a statement earlier this month siding with the ruling.
‘The United States has returned to its longstanding position that the term “sex” in Title VII does not refer to gender identity,’ the statement said.
‘Nondiscrimination protections for transgender people are public health issues’
Trans people say that their healthcare providers often discriminate against them, the Center for American Progress discovered via a freedom of information request to the DHHS.
A new study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association also found the trans people are more likely to be smokers, sedentary, and uninsured.
‘This study shows that being a transgender person in the U.S. today — being transgender in a society that you know doesn’t fully accept you — is hard,” Kellan Baker, the study’s lead researcher and a scholar at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Medical Research.
‘It affects your health in negative ways. And that’s why issues such as nondiscrimination protections for transgender people are public health issues.’
A long record of attacks on trans rights
The move is yet another instance of the Trump administration’s woeful record on trans rights.
Since taking office, the Trump administration has moved to severely restrict the rights of trans individuals.
This month saw Trump’s controversial ban on trans troops serving in the US military going into effect. Numerous rights campaigners, politicians, and former military personnel have condemned the ban.
Last year, The White House received widespread condemnation after a leaked memo suggested that the Department of Health and Human Services was planning to restrict the definition of sex to genitalia at birth. Trans rights advocates said the move would ‘legally erase’ trans individuals.
The government has also rolled back protections on rights in federally funded schools, which has affected numerous trans students. Earlier this month, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos admitted that the government’s policies would have a negative effect on the wellbeing of trans students.