LGBTQ groups to rally in response to NYT report on Trump's gender policy proposal

LGBTQ groups on Sunday announced rallies and demonstrations in response to a recent New York Times report that indicated the Trump administration is planning to exclude transgender and nonbinary people from its legal definition of gender.

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign and other LGBTQ advocacy groups are organizing demonstrations to take place in New York City on Sunday evening and in Washington, D.C., on Monday morning. 

Lambda Legal and LGBTQ advocacy group Voices 4 are set to hold a demonstration in New York City's Washington Square Park from 6-7:30 p.m., while the NCTE and Human Rights Campaign are organizing a rally to take place in front of the White House at 12:30 p.m. on Monday. 

The Washington, D.C., demonstration will take place after an 11 a.m. press conference by advocacy organizations hosted at the Human Rights Campaign's building. The organizations are still finalizing the roster of speakers.

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it doesn't comment on alleged leak documents. 

“A federal court has blocked HHS’s rule on gender identity and termination of pregnancy as contrary to law and infringing the rights of healthcare providers across the country," Roger Severino, the head of the office of civil rights at the agency, said in a statement to The Hill. "The court order remains in full force and effect today and HHS is abiding by it as we continue to review the issue.”

The White House did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

Trans and LGBTQ advocacy organizations have responded to the report with unequivocal denunciations throughout the day, saying a definition of gender that relies solely on biology would result in discrimination against trans and nonbinary individuals. 

"This proposal is an attempt to put heartless restraints on the lives of 2 million people, effectively abandoning our right to equal access to health care, to housing, to education, or to fair treatment under the law," the NCTE wrote in a press release on Sunday.

"This administration is willing to disregard the established medical and legal view of our rights and ourselves to solidify an archaic, dogmatic, and frightening view of the world," the organization added. "This transparent political attack will not succeed administratively, legally, or morally."

The groups are mobilizing in response to a Times report that found the Trump administration has proposed a legal definition of gender as determined "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable."

The proposal would reportedly require DNA testing to resolve any disputes about a person's gender.

This could mean the millions of people who identify as transgender, or with a gender other than the one they are assigned at birth, would not be recognized as a legitimate group by the government. They would be excluded from civil rights protections under Title IX, the civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in educational settings.

The Obama administration adopted a definition of gender that recognized peoples' self-definitions of their identities. The proposed definition would roll back the former president's attempts to expand civil rights for transgender people. 

NCTE and Lambda Legal throughout Sunday promoted the hashtag #WontBeErased, encouraging transgender and gender nonconforming people to post photos of themselves in order to show that "transgender people can't be erased with a memo," NCTE wrote in a tweet.

Lamba Legal's demonstration in Washington Square Park on Sunday will involve multiple high-profile speakers, including actress and advocate Sara Ramirez and American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio.  

"It’s deeply concerning that our federal government has chosen to disregard decades of existing law to push forward what are clearly ideologically-driven policy views about who transgender people are," Lambda Legal senior attorney Sasha Buchert told The Hill. 

"We've built protections in employment, education and healthcare for the past 25 years," Buchert added. "It’s completely out of step with the law ... It’s out of step with the medical consensus."

Buchert said Lambda Legal will be meeting with the Department of Education's civil rights office on Monday in a previously-planned meeting to discuss the ramifications for transgender students. 

"We’ll consider all options as soon as this rule is formulated and put forward," Buchert said, noting HHS has not made the proposal public yet. "It doesn’t change the law." 

--Updated at 5:14 P.M.