The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) denounces and condemns the recent leaked Department of Health and Human Services memo that puts forward a plan for the current administration to deny the existence of transgender, non-binary, and intersex people. This is yet another attempted to erase, dehumanize and discriminate against LGBTQ people.
The memo leaked last Sunday by the New York Times contained a policy proposal to narrowly define gender as a “biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth,” starting with attempting to establish a legal definition of sex through Title IX. While not currently law, the discriminatory language and anti-trans sentiment in the memo has devastating impacts on transgender and gender non-conforming people and communities. Transgender and gender non-conforming people face unparalleled rates of violence, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence and hate violence; violence that is compounded by intersecting identities of race, sexuality, ability/disability, immigration status, language etc. In the last three years, homicides of transgender women, particularly women of color, have steadily increased. In 2017 alone there were 28 recorded homicides of transgender women and, horrifyingly, 2018 is on track to be one of the deadliest years for black and brown transgender women.
The memo is one part of an intentional plan to target the human and civil rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people and LGBTQ communities. In the last week alone, the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a memo attempting to change federal language around gender, U.S. diplomats within the United Nations lobbied to replace treaty language alluding to gender identity, and the Department of Justice issued an opinion to the Supreme Court stating that the DOJ doesn’t believe that discriminating against trans employees violates federal law.
NCAVP members however are not backing down but are redoubling our fight for equity, justice and opportunities for our LGBTQ and HIV affected communities. Casa Ruby, the only bilingual and multicultural LGBTQ organization based in Washington D.C., joined other anti-violence organizations in protesting outside of the White House on October 22nd under the hashtag #WeWon’tBeErased. Advocates from the newly opened Trans Wellness Center in Los Angeles, CA, gathered with transgender, non-binary and intersex community outside of L.A. City Hall, and the New York City Anti-Violence Project took part in rallies and gave testimony at NYC City Hall throughout the week.
These attacks on our transgender and gender non-conforming communities are not new, isolated or born out of this political moment or administration. These attacks are rooted in and are symptomatic of interlocking systems of white supremacy, transphobia, patriarchy and misogyny, operating at all levels of our society. NCAVP continues to denounce these attacks while simultaneously working with our transgender and gender non-conforming communities to build communities of safety, humanity and liberation.
*NCAVP is comprised of over 50 organizations dedicated to ending violence in the LGBTQ community. NCAVP works to prevent, respond to and end all forms of violence against and within LGBTQ communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP strives to increase power, safety and resources through data analysis, policy advocacy, education and technical assistance.