November 02, 2018


Lawmakers demand Sec. Azar reject HHS policy to exclude trans individuals from civil rights protections

Washington, D.C. – Reassuring transgender Americans that they cannot be erased, Congressman Joe Kennedy III today led 97 of his colleagues in demanding that Secretary Alex Azar reject any consideration of a Department of Health and Human Services policy to redefine “sex” to exclude the transgender community, denying them basic civil rights. Kennedy and his colleagues called the proposal an “unequivocal attack on the dignity and lives of American citizens.”

“This Administration cannot ethically or legally decide to ignore all science and precedent to unilaterally render the promise of civil rights meaningless for transgender Americans,” said Kennedy. “Even for a President who traffics in fear and conspiracy, this policy scrapes the deepest depths of bigotry. To every single transgender American, you will not be erased because you are heard, you are seen and you are counted.”

Last week the Trump Administration proposed to redefine the definition of “sex” under Title IX to specifically exclude transgender people, effectively abandoning their right to equal access to health care, housing, education, and fair treatment under the law. To read the letter, please click here.

Research conclusively shows transgender people tragically face disproportionately high rates of discrimination in every aspect of life. The U.S. Transgender Survey shows that that 26 percent of transgender people have lost a job due to bias, 50 percent have been harassed at work, 20 percent have been evicted or denied housing, 78 percent of transgender students have faced harassment or assault, and 33 percent of those who have seen a health care provider faced harassment or were refused treatment.

Kennedy serves as chairman of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force. Following the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, he introduced the Do No Harm Act with Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), which would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to preserve civil rights. He has been a proud co-sponsor of major equality legislation, from the Equality Act to the Global Respect Act to the Student Non-Discrimination Act.


For Immediate Release:
November 2, 2018 

Dan Black (202) 225-5931