CFI Condemns Government’s Attempt to Define Transgender People Out of Their Rights

For Immediate Release: October 23, 2018
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director - (207) 358-9785

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) today condemned a leaked memo from the Department of Health and Human Services that threatens to significantly roll back legal protections for transgender people.

The proposed changes to Title IX would require federal agencies applying anti-discrimination laws in areas such as health care, employment, and education to use only the sex listed on an individual’s birth certificate. A string of federal court decisions have recognized that Title IX’s proscription of gender-based discrimination protects transgender individuals. Similarly, the previous administration extended certain legal protections to transgender people. These advances would be reversed, leaving a vulnerable population unprotected by federal anti-discrimination law.

“As humanists, CFI believes that all individuals should be treated by the government with dignity and respect. By permitting discrimination in countless areas against transgender individuals, this policy is an indisputable attempt by the Trump administration to label them as lesser citizens and place them in danger,” said Jason Lemieux, CFI’s Director of Government Affairs. “CFI has long supported fair and just treatment for transgender people; this policy threatens the protections that exist for a population subjected to discrimination and opprobrium from all too many corners of our society.”

Transgender people suffer from disproportionately high levels of violent crime and suicide; discrimination against them in education, housing, employment, and medical treatment is widespread. The removal of hard-fought protections for transgender individuals, along with the public announcement that no protections are warranted to prevent the demonstrable harm they face, represents an assault on this marginalized group.

“The Trump administration has no interest in protecting or helping transgender individuals, members of the LGBTQ community, or indeed any citizen whose existence doesn’t serve its own ends,” said Nick Little, Vice President and General Counsel of CFI. “This memo is just another attempt to fulfill the administration’s promises to the religious right. Transgender people deserve respect, compassion, and decency from our government. They should not be used as a political football to rally the evangelical base in the run up to the midterm elections.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at