U.S. officials at the United Nations are reportedly pushing to remove references to the word “gender” from documents on human rights as the Trump administration works to eliminate definitions that give leeway to transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.
Officials are pushing the U.N.'s Third Committee, which focuses on “social, humanitarian and cultural” rights, to rewrite statements that include what they view as vague and politically correct language, The Guardian reported Friday.
Many of the changes U.S. officials have proposed include replacing the word “gender” with “women,” the outlet noted.
The U.S. is pressing, for instance, to change phrases such as “gender-based violence” to “violence against women” in a draft paper about sex trafficking.
The officials working to push these changes are not full-time diplomats in the U.S. mission but rather Trump officials sent from Washington, according to The Guardian.
“We are seeing this more and more coming up on the Third Committee, and this is going to be a battle in the coming weeks,” a U.N, diplomat told the newspaper.
“If you only say violence against women, it doesn’t really tell the whole story,” a senior diplomat at the U.N. told The Guardian. “We shouldn’t be going along with encouraging their society to be regressive."
"And if that means a blazing row in the Third Committee, I would have a blazing row in committee because I think some things are worth cherishing and worth hanging on to," the diplomat continued.
A spokesperson for the State Department told the newspaper that the U.S. is not attempting to exclude protections for transgender people by proposing the changes.
“When certain parts of resolutions explicitly refer to issues affecting ‘women and girls’, our negotiators have suggested in several instances to change ‘gender’ to ‘women’ and/or ‘women and girls’ to make the resolutions clearer, more specific, more accurate, and in our view, stronger in the Administration’s efforts to empower women and girls,” the spokesperson said.
The U.N. changes could be part of a wider campaign by the Trump administration to redefine “gender.”
The New York Times reported Sunday that the Trump administration is looking to change the legal definition of gender to require individuals to identify as male or female based on their genitalia at birth.
The Department of Health and Human Services proposed in a memo obtained by the Times that government agencies adopt a definition of gender that is determined "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable."
The change would essentially eliminate the definition that offers leeway to transgender and non-binary individuals, rolling back protections for an estimated 1.4 million Americans.