LGBTQ community responds to President’s transgender definition memo

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A leaked draft memo obtained by the New York Times suggests the Trump administration is considering re-defining the word "gender."
It's news that has sparked outrage and action across the transgender and LGTBQ-plus community. Local organizers on Saturday held a rally at the Capitol to show their disapproval of the suggested changes.

“I put a Facebook event together and invited like 15 or 20 friends and then in a few hours, that turned into a few hundred,” said Sawyer Stephens.

Sawyer and hundreds of people came out to the Oklahoma State Capitol in protest against a Trump Administration proposal they fear would legally define transgender people out of existence.

“We came out here to support our community; the idea of the leaked HHS memo rewriting our existence in a way that makes it more difficult for Americans to navigate life, employment, health care, housing,” said Elysabeth Britt.

The leaked memo obtained by the New York Times proposed re-defining the word "gender," suggesting gender be narrowly defined by a person's sex at birth.

“I was immediately appalled and upset,” said Mattie Witman who has been transitioning from female to male, “There are a lot of things happening in our administration-it had been happening-that requires attention of those who are willing to speak out and are able to speak out.”

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told NBC the department does not comment on alleged leaked documents.

However, to reporters, President Trump all but confirmed it.
“They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender rights now, you know that as well as I do and we're looking at it very seriously."

Reporter: "But what about your promise to protect the LGBTQ."

Trump: "I'm protecting everybody."

Witman said policies like this put the lives of many transgender and gender-nonconforming people at risk.

“Whenever your existence is questioned by an administration that is supposed to protect you, it really makes you consider your worth,” said Witman.

Back in 2016, Trump showed support for the transgender community.

"As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens," said Trump.

Those rallying say they will not stop fighting for their rights and the rights of others.

“They're not going to force me live like a girl, I will not de-transition under any circumstances, but they can legally force me to exist as a girl,” said Maddox Cott.

The new "gender" definition could be presented to the justice department by the end of the year.

The rule could also change policies which protect transgender people from discrimination. If the memo becomes law, it can roll back many federal protections the transgender community have.
Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in education programs or activities receiving federal funds.

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