BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey led a coalition of 18 state attorneys general urging the Trump Administration to abandon efforts to adopt a definition of “sex” that would exclude transgender and gender nonconforming individuals from the protections of federal civil rights laws.
Last month, media reported that key officials in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were considering adopting a definition of sex as an immutable, binary biological trait determined by or before birth—and that the Department was urging other agencies, including the Department of Education, to do the same. Such a restrictive definition would effectively exclude transgender and gender nonconforming individuals from the protections of critical federal civil rights laws, including Title IX and the nondiscrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
“My office will continue to stand up for basic civil rights for all of our residents, said AG Healey. “We urge the federal government to join us in protecting transgender individuals, not adding to persistent discrimination and bullying.”
In the letter to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the attorneys general agree that “despite clear evidence of the serious harms that discrimination continues to inflict on the transgender community, the Administration seems intent not only on rolling back existing federal civil rights protections for this vulnerable population, but also denying transgender people even basic recognition.”
AG Healey is committed to protecting the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people in Massachusetts. She worked closely with legislators, advocates, businesses, and law enforcement to secure passage of a state law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations. In June 2016, the AG’s Office held trainings with hospitals throughout Massachusetts to improve medical care for transgender patients. Over the past year, AG Healey has led a coalition of 20 state AGs in successfully opposing the Trump Administration’s attempt to ban transgender individuals from serving openly in the military.
AG Healey was joined in this letter by attorneys general in California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.