The WGA West has blasted the Donald Trump administration’s latest assault on transgender rights, calling its proposal to remove their federally protected status an “attack on the civil rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming people.”
The Supreme Court recently was asked to hear a case challenging whether civil rights laws that prohibit sex discrimination in employment also extend to transgender workers.
“The Trump administration has taken another step in its attempt to roll back protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming people by arguing to the Supreme Court that federal civil rights laws don’t protect them,” the guild said in a statement. “The WGAW opposes this ill-conceived position. Equality under the law is a principle we hold dear as a nation and the Guild strongly opposes any effort to undermine the efficacy of our country’s anti-discrimination statutes.”
The guild’s statement comes in response to a recent draft memo by the Department of Health and Human Services that proposes a rewriting of the legal definition of gender under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. The memo proposed that gender be redefined to mean “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” If adopted, that would eliminate federal protections for an estimated 1.4 million Americans who identify as belonging to a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth.
It’s not the first time Trump has tried to roll back transgender rights. In July, he tweeted, “After consultation with my generals and military experts, [the U.S.] will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” A federal judge shot that down, however, ruling that the military has to accept transgender people.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also has taken a shot at transgender rights, stating last year that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act “does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”