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California Transgender Groups Poised To Fight Possible Trump Proposal

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo
The National Center for Transgender Equality, NCTE, and the Human Rights Campaign gather on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, for a #WontBeErased rally.

California advocates say a draft Trump administration proposal would roll back important protections for transgender people, especially students — though the state’s own legal protections would stand.

The federal government is considering excluding transgender people from Title IX, the code that bans sex discrimination in schools, according to an internal memo obtained by The New York Times.

People whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth would no longer be legally protected in cases involving bullying, bathroom use and locker room access, according to the Times’ report.

Advocates say the policy unfairly erases transgender people and turns back the clock on progress made for LGBTQ people under former President Barack Obama. Representatives from the Trump administration argue that sex discrimination laws were never meant to include gender identity.

California has its own laws affording these students equal protection in schools, and other policies that cover transgender adults in workplaces, housing and health care. Those would stay in place even if the ideas in the memo come to pass, said Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel and director of law and policy. with LGBTQ law group Lamda Legal.

“Even with excellent laws on the books here in California, when discrimination, bullying and harassment and exclusion increase, that harms people,” she said.

Multiple California groups have already vowed to oppose the draft proposal. In Washington, D.C., it’s spurred protests and the hashtag, “#WontBeErased.”

“Rest assured, medicine, science and the law are all on our side — not the Administration’s — and so are Californians, a majority of whom want our government to do more — not less — to support and protect our transgender family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California.

Zbur’s group is one of several that recently fought Trump administration efforts to ban transgender people from military service. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was also involved in the case. The judge issued a preliminary injunction last year.

Groups such as the California Family Council, which has historically opposed laws that expand the rights of transgender people, have not issued statements about the memo.

Copyright 2018 Capital Public Radio