Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez has introduced an item asking the city manager to send a letter of opposition to President Donald Trump, the Office for Civil Rights, and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding efforts to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX that excludes transgender people.
“As Long Beach is celebrated as a strong LGBTQ-inclusive city, we cannot remain silent on the attack’s against our transgender friends by the Trump administration,” Gonzalez said. “Our city’s federal and state legislative agendas will include an item to oppose all actions by his administration that exclude or try to diminish the existence of our trans friends.”
The move comes shortly after the City Council approved its pro-trans Preferred Name and Pronoun Policy, allowing city employees to be identified and referred to by the name they prefer.
The request includes criticism of Trump’s proposed reinterpretation of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans sex discrimination in federally funded schools, as first reported in the New York Times. The Department of Health and Human Services is considering a new rule that “would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with,” according to the initial report.
In other words, it pushes 1.4 million transgender people out of federal recognition—and therefore, out of the scope of receiving basic rights.
Alexandra Billings, Cal State Long Beach professor, actress and trans advocate who has suffered from AIDS for over three decades, compared the Trump Administration rule to the treatment of those with AIDS under the Reagan Administration.
The current administration “wants to murder us all over again,” she said. “He will not make us disappear; you cannot legislate us out of existence. We are a fact. We are here.”
The Department of Health and Human Services will formally present the proposal to the Justice Department before the end of this year to determine its legality; if the change is legal, Title IX laws and government agencies would be forced to comply with it, including the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Labor.
The effects of that possible change may determine what bathrooms trans students can use, whether they could join single-sex courses and activities, or which sports teams they could participate in, among other things. At its most far-reaching, it could require students to present DNA tests as proof of their sex, thereby granting or not granting them an educational experience.
This proposal from Trump overturns the work by the Obama Administration that advanced transgender rights, including defining gender identity as protected by Title IX, and contributes to Trump’s openly anti-trans policies: He has sought to ban transgender people from serving in the military, rescinded a memo protecting trans workers, limited protections for trans folks in health care, and stripped protections for trans prisoners.
“Long Beach has strong values that are deep rooted in quality of life for all, especially our LGBTQ+ communities,” Gonzalez said.
The proposal by Gonzalez, backed by Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, 2nd District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce and 7th District Councilman Roberto Uranga, goes before the City Council on Nov. 20.
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