On “trans*”

This week began with news of an ongoing effort within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to roll back recognition of and protection for trans* people under federal civil rights law, by defining “sex” as either male or female (i.e., binary), unchangeable, and determined by the genitals a person is born with. According to a New York Times story published on October 21, the Department specified their proposed redefinition in a memo drafted this spring and circulated since then: “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth. . . . The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.” 

To put it as clearly as possible: we at UCM believe this is wrong. And hateful. And hurtful. And we will neither accept, nor support, nor comply with it. Trans* friends, we see you, we welcome you, and we affirm, support, and defend your right to be fully and fearlessly who you are. For us this is a moral, ethical, and spiritual commitment that goes beyond politics. And we deplore both the dehumanizing intent and effect of this proposed move, and the cynical use of gender identity as a political wedge issue to manipulate voting blocs. Good people don’t treat real people this way. And we’re here for everything that will make this better.

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