Activists Respond To Reported HHS Proposal On Title IX Protections

If implemented, the change could override Title IX protections for transgender people in federally funded education programs.

People at a rally for LGBTQ rights in New York City in October 2018
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LGBTQ and civil rights activists are speaking out against a reported Trump administration proposal that could roll back Title IX legal protections for transgender people. 

The New York Times reported the Health and Human Services Department is working on a draft proposal to narrow the legal definition of sex under Title IX as biological and unchangeable. If implemented, it could override Title IX protections for transgender people in federally funded education programs. The department reportedly argues that Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex, and that definition wasn't meant to include gender identity.

The Human Rights Campaign is calling for Congress to take action should the White House go through with the potential policy change, saying it would set a "destructive precedent." And rallies in support of transgender rights have taken place in front of the White House and in New York City.

According to The New York Times, the new definition could be presented to the Justice Department as soon as the end of this year. If adopted, the change would mark another reversal of Obama-era guidance that expanded legal protection on the basis of gender identity.

HHS hasn't publicly confirmed the report, but President Donald Trump spoke out about transgender rights Monday. 

"We're looking at it. We have a lot of different concepts right now," he said. "They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender right now. You know that as well as I do. We're looking at it very seriously. I'm protecting everybody. You know what I'm doing? I'm protecting everybody. I'm protecting our country." 

Correction: A previous version of this story said the Trump administration is thinking about changing the definition of gender under Title IX. To be more precise, the administration is discussing a narrow definition of the term "sex," and that could in turn affect people on the basis of their gender identity.