The Trump administration on Friday finalized a regulation that removes Obama-era transgender nondiscrimination protections in healthcare.
Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, told the New York Times the timing of the regulation — on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse massacre and in the middle of LGBT Pride month — was “purely coincidental.” Severino also falsely claimed the change was “equivalent to housekeeping.”
From the NYT: The rule, which does not differ much from a proposed version released last year, is part of a broad Trump administration effort across multiple areas of policy — including education, housing, and employment, as well as health care — to narrow the legal definition of sex discrimination so that it does not include protections for transgender people. … Transgender rights advocates criticized the timing for another reason: the coronavirus. “It’s really, really horrendous to not only gut nondiscrimination protections, but to gut nondiscrimination protections in the middle of a pandemic,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, the deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “This rule opens a door for a medical provider to turn someone away for a Covid-19 test just because they happen to be transgender.”
In response to the rule, the Human Rights Campaign said it plans to sue the Trump administration.
“We cannot and will not allow Donald Trump to continue attacking us,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “LGBTQ people get sick. LGBTQ people need health care. LGBTQ people should not live in fear that they cannot get the care they need simply because of who they are. It is clear that this administration does not believe that LGBTQ people, or other marginalized communities, deserve equality under the law. But we have a reality check for them: we will not let this attack on our basic right to be free from discrimination in health care go unchallenged. We will see them in court, and continue to challenge all of our elected officials to rise up against this blatant attempt to erode critical protections people need and sanction discrimination.”
The regulation also sparked outrage on social media, and by Friday night “transgender” was trending on Twitter.