Advocates say a plan being considered by the Trump administration to narrow the definition of sex as either male or female would not reverse existing protections for transgender people in Oregon — but that isn’t stopping them from vowing to fight the plan.
Oregon lawmakers and civil rights groups say they’ll fight the federal government if it moves forward with a plan to redefine sex under federal civil rights laws. The plan, first reported by The New York Times, would redefine sex under Title IX — the federal civil rights law banning gender discrimination — as unchangeable and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.
Advocates say they’re prepared to take the battle to court, and state lawmakers say they’ll look into how to beef up existing protections for transgender Oregonians.
“For those who right now are very scared about what this means, please know that my colleagues and I in the Oregon Legislature will do everything we can to protect you,” said Democratic House Speaker Tina Kotek at a press conference Tuesday.
In 2017, Oregon became the first state in the country to allow residents to identify as male, female or not specified X on state ID cards. And for the first time this year, transgender Oregonians could take advantage of a new, streamlined process for changing their listed gender and names on their birth certificates.
“This memo does nothing to undo Oregon’s protections,” said Mat dos Santos, legal director with the ACLU of Oregon. “To be very clear: It does not change one word of legal precedent that’s come out of our courts or out of our statehouses here in Oregon.”
Still, advocates say the move is a form of erasure that would roll back protections for transgender people elsewhere.
“The proposal to exclude transgender people from federal protections is a targeted and intentional move to systematically define who this government decides is valid and worthy of a safe existence,” said Azul Rodriguez Da Silva, program director with Basic Rights Oregon.
The ACLU of Oregon, which has already entered a number of legal battles against the Trump administration, said it’s prepared to fight in court on the issue.