The Fenway Institute, GLMA and Others Warn of the Health Consequences of Trump Administration Plan to Narrowly Define Sex Under Federal Law

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 Sexual Health News
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Over 35 national health care associations and providers have signed a letter urging the administration to drop reported plans to narrowly define sex as an immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.

BOSTON, Nov. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Fenway Institute and GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality

announced today that over 35 national health care associations and providers have sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urging them to drop reported plans to narrowly define sex as an immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.

Signers of the letter include the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, all of which endorse a standard of care for transgender people that includes mental health counseling, hormone therapy, and surgeries that affect primary and secondary sex characteristics. These organizations represent thousands of health care providers across the country.

"The science is clear. Genetic sex chromosomes, anatomy, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity are separate. In many people they are aligned with one another, and in millions of other people they are not," said GLMA President Gal Mayer, MD, MS, who has considerable experience caring for LGBTQ patients as the former medical director of Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. "Any policy that tries to define an individual's gender based solely on any one of these characteristics ignores decades of research and study, and contradicts the massive expertise of the healthcare providers and their associations represented on this letter. We can all confirm that gender and gender identity are not binary and in many cases not the same as the sex assigned at birth. Gender and gender identity exist on a spectrum, are personal experiences, are not always static, and can only be defined by the person living that experience."

"Transgender people face discriminatory treatment in public settings, including hospitals and other health care facilities," said Sean Cahill, Director of Health Policy Research for The Fenway Institute. "As a result, many transgender people avoid care due to prior mistreatment and the fear of anticipated mistreatment and stigma. It would be malpractice to rescind nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in health care settings."

The plans were first made public October 21 by the New York Times in a report based on a U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) memo that was leaked to the newspaper. The Times reported that HHS is proposing a legal definition of sex that would exclude transgender individuals under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination. A number of recent federal court rulings have found that anti-transgender discrimination constitutes sex discrimination under Title IX, and the sex discrimination provisions of the Civil Rights Act and Affordable Care Act. These rulings also were used as the legal basis for federal nondiscrimination rules affecting access by transgender people to healthcare, education, and other services that receive federal funding.

The full letter can be read online here:

Since 1971, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhoods, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population. The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway's Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless; struggling with substance use; or living with HIV/AIDS. AIDS Action, Fenway's public health division, works to reduce the number of HIV infections while supporting those already infected, and operates a needle exchange that serves as an entry point to healthcare services for active substance users.

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality is a national organization committed to ensuring health equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and all sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals, and equality for LGBTQ/SGM health professionals in their work and learning environments. To achieve this mission, GLMA (formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association) utilizes the scientific expertise of its diverse multidisciplinary membership to inform and drive advocacy, education, and research.


SOURCE The Fenway Institute

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