The Trump administration is reportedly considering defining gender as a biological condition that is determined by a person’s genitalia at birth. If this goes into effect, it would effectively write members of the transgender community out of existence and roll back existing protections.
The report comes courtesy of the New York Times, which obtained a memo that states that the Department of Health and Human Services needs to adopt a uniform definition of gender based on “a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective, and administrable.” Sex would be either male or female and would be unchangeable, a draft of the memo said. And, if individuals disputed their sex, it would have to be clarified by genetic testing.
Members of the transgender community and advocates are speaking out against the reported memo, including Jamie Bruesehoff, the mother of Rebekah, an 11-year-old transgender girl.
“Vote as if this kid’s life depends on it, because it does,” she captioned a photo on Instagram of Rebekah. “In fact, a whole lot of lives depend on it.”
Rebekah made headlines in 2017, after she was photographed at a rally holding a sign that read, “I’m the scary transgender person the media warned you about.” That photo is now circulating online again, which is “really wild,” Jamie wrote in another Instagram post.
“When people talk about voting, they talk about issues. My kid isn’t an issue,” Jamie Bruesehoff tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “She’s a person, an 11-year-old kid who loves dance, field hockey, and hanging out with her friends. She’s an 11-year-old kid whose safety and rights are at risk because she happens to be transgender.”
Bruesehoff says she wants “people to know they aren’t voting about disembodied ideas and arguments. Real people’s lives are on the line with this administration’s continued attacks on human rights.”
“Transgender people exist,” she continues. “My daughter exists. Her very existence, her visibility, is an act of resistance in the face of an administration actively trying to erase transgender people. Regardless of what the Trump administration tries to do, she’s not going anywhere. The entire trans community is not going anywhere.”
Bruesehoff says that Rebekah knows about the memo. “It’s upsetting, and she doesn’t like to think about it,” she says. “Quite frankly, she shouldn’t have to think about it. At 11 years old, she should be worrying about her science test or if she forgot her gym clothes, not whether her basic human rights will be taken away today or tomorrow.”
Instead, Rebekah is trying to focus on her support network ”and using her voice to spread hope and create change,” Bruesehoff says.
She stresses that the transgender community is not about to back down from this position. “The transgender community is filled with the most incredible people I’ve ever met — they embody strength, resilience, authenticity, and courage,” she says. “They will fight this like they’ve fought for every inch of progress that’s been made, but they need allies to step up and raise their voices.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Trans Americans launch #WontBeErased on Twitter in response to Trump’s gender proposal
- Black senior citizens ordered off bus taking them to polling place: ‘We’re going to vote. Nobody’s going to stop us.’
- Rashida Tlaib was once asked to prove she’s a U.S. citizen — now she’s poised to be the first Muslim woman in Congress