The Biden administration has reversed a policy under Donald Trump which excluded transgender people from protection under federal sex discrimination laws

By Sean Neumann
May 10, 2021 01:00 PM
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Transgender Flag
Transgender Flag
| Credit: getty images

Transgender rights advocates are celebrating a Monday announcement by President Joe Biden's administration restoring trans healthcare protections under federal discrimination law.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced it was reversing a decision under Donald Trump that had excluded transgender people from protections against sex discrimination while receiving healthcare.

Trump, 74, and his administration had narrowed the law by defining a person's "sex" as the one assigned to them at birth.

About 1.4 million Americans publicly identify as transgender, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the reversal "will have a lasting impact on our community, particularly for transgender and non-binary people, across the country."

Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride — who in November became the highest-ranking elected transgender official in U.S. history — called it "welcome news at such a critical time."

In announcing the policy change, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra pointed to a six-to-three Supreme Court decision last year that ruled people who are transgender are included under federal laws against sex discrimination in the workplace.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden
| Credit: ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

"The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That's why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination," Becerra, 63, said.

"Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences," Becerra added. "It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period."

Biden, 78, previously reversed a Trump-era ban on transgender people serving in the military.