CDC’s Ban on ‘Transgender’
At Worst, the CDC’s Ban on ‘Transgender’ Could Cost Lives
On Friday, the Washington Post reported that Health and Human Services officials had banned the Centers for Disease Control from using seven words or phrases on documents relating to next year’s budget. The list itself consists of words like “science-based,” “diversity,” and “vulnerable,” but perhaps the most concerning is the banning of the word “transgender.” Despite a statement from an HHS spokesperson denying that these words have been banned, a restriction like this represents an astonishing attack on reality-based medical treatments and has the potential to exacerbate what is already a public health crisis within the trans community.
This move is one item on a growing list of hostile policies from the Trump administration that take aim at an already vulnerable trans community, including a full-on ban on military service (which has been so far rejected by courts), a claim that employment discrimination against trans people is essentially legaldespite case law indicating otherwise, and revocation of Obama-era school guidelines for trans students. Even though Donald Trump claimed numerous times during his campaign to be an ally of the LGBTQ community, his administration has turned out to be the most outwardly hostile toward queer people since Ronald Reagan.
Looming in the background is a long-term effort to revoke Obamacare Rule 1557, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the healthcare. Rolling back those protections has been a priority of the religious right since it was first enacted. HHS has been considering allowing religious groups to ignore some regulations, mostly related to healthcare for trans people and abortions; the agency has received over 10,000 comments from the public but has chosen to only release 80 of those comments, the vast majority of which support revoking the rule. (HHS’s refusal to cooperate with multiple requests to release the full list of comments is unprecedented and may violate federal law.)