Officials with the Trump administration have declined to meet with members of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force to discuss perceived rollbacks to transgender rights.
The Washington Blade reported officials from the civil rights offices with the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have turned down the request to confer on transgender matters.
The request was sent via a letter dated 13 February from Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (grandson of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy), who serves as chair of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force.
The letter was sent to a total of eight departments. The other six, which have yet to respond, are the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, Education, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HSS). The letter requested a response by 23 February.
‘During the first year of this administration, transgender Americans have endured a systematic attack on their dignity, rights and freedom,’ the letter says.
The letter cites concerns about transgender rights including the withdrawal of guidance assuring transgender students access to school restrooms that match their gender identity, the elimination of Title VII employment discrimination protection and Trump’s proposed ban on transgender soldiers serving in the military.
It also lists the creation of a Conscience & Religious Freedom Division within the Department of Health & Human Services as a major concern. That division is viewed by many as a tool for LGBTI discrimination.
‘These new policies could result in health care providers refusing medically-necessary treatment to transgender patients and school boards creating hostile and unwelcoming environments for transgender teachers and students,’ the letter states.
‘We believe the “government of the people, by the people, for the people” must apply to all Americans, not just the politically-favored,’ reads the letter.
In addition to Kennedy, the letter was signed by Rep. Mike Quigley (Illinois), Rep. Donald McEachin (Virginia) and Rep. Raul Grijalva (Arizona). The letter was also signed by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting delegate to the House representing the District of Columbia.