OUTMemphis To Hold Rally Sunday On Impact Of Reported “Definition Of Gender” Memo

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OUTMemphis, a local support center for the LGBTQ community in the Mid-South, is now responding to a reported memo within the Trump administration considering adoption of a new federal definition of gender. The group has planned a rally for Sunday to discuss the impact of such a move in the Mid-South.

From the Associated Press: Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Department of Health and Human Services was circulating a memo proposing that gender be defined as an immutable biological condition determined by a person’s sex organs at birth. The proposal would define sex as either male or female, and any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified through genetic testing, according to the Times’ account of the memo.

Critics say the move would effectively deny federal recognition and civil rights protections to transgender Americans.

OUTMemphis released the following statement Thursday:

OUTMemphis is the LGBTQ+ Community Center of the Mid-South and we stand in solidarity with the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community. As many by now have heard news of the Memo from the current administration that will aim to target and alienate people of trans and intersex experience. This policy change will hurt not only the Transgender community but sets a precedent that has the potential to hurt all types of marginalized people.

Erasing the diversity that exists in the United States by deliberately changing how national programs collect data does not make our nation smarter and more united; rather it leaves us ignorant, divided, and vulnerable. By many accounts, living as a Transgender person in America is not easy. Already this year at least 23 Transgender people have been killed because they were Transgender, and Transgender people face overwhelming discrimination in public spaces, medical care settings, educational institutions, in the workforce, and by the criminal justice system.

Erasing the data that demonstrates these injustices does not put us, as a society, in a better position to solve them. Instead it enables people in power to ignore the injustice by pretending that Transgender Americans do not exist. This erasure is a violent act. 

Jonathan M. Ealy, Interim Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors for OUTMemphis states “In a time when the country continues to deal with divisive politics, this administration seeks divide us further by attempting to remove vital recognition and protections from people in our Transgender community. Should the points outlined in this memo become policy, they will have far reaching implications, not only for Transgender individuals, but sets a very dangerous precedent to use this logic and rhetoric to target other minority groups not favored by this administration. This proposal would relegate those in our community who identify as Transgender to second class citizens, making it more difficult to legally argue they should be protected from discrimination. It will weaken and remove necessary protections and encourage discrimination. OUTMemphis is committed to actively speaking out against not only this but all types of discrimination for all people.”

We are asking the citizens, elected officials, allies, Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming people to stand with the LGBTQ community and SAY NO TO THE MEMO! Join us on Sunday October 28, 2018 at 2pm at OUTMemphis located at 892 South Cooper St. We will have local Transgender leaders speak about the impact of this memo.

Soon the public will be able comment on this proposal, and when that time comes, we ask you to stand with the Transgender community. As soon as instructions for public comments are released, OUTMemphis will share them widely. Together we CAN make a difference. 

For more information about these events, or about the services offered at OUTMemphis, please contact Kayla Gore, Transgender Services Specialist, at OUTMemphis. Her contact info is 901-352-1660 or kgore@outmemphis.org. 

For a full list of events go to www.OUTMemphis.org OUR MISSION: OUTMemphis empowers, connects, educates and advocates for the LGBTQ community of the Mid-South. OUR VISION: LGBTQ individuals live in a world where everyone has equal rights, and is safe, respected and celebrated.

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