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Transgender Guidance Scrubbed From Office of Personnel Management Website

The Trump administration continues to rewrite governmental policy in order to exclude transgender people. Another regressive rewrite, complete with reference to "biological sex," showed up over Thanksgiving weekend.

New Civil Rights Movement | November 28, 2018

In a second attack on transgender rights over the holiday weekend, guidance protecting transgender people in the workplace was removed from the website of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The previous version of the page, created during the Obama administration, provided detailed guidance on transgender employees.

The page is now replaced with a more generic one, removing content regarding transgender people.

The previous version included a detailed breakdown of terms surrounding transgender people, and useful policies for employers to treat their transgender employees with dignity and respect.

All of the terminology section has been removed, and much of the directives specific to transgender-specific policies has been removed or reworded.

For example, a section on “Dress and Appearance” suggested changed to gender-specific dress and appearance rules, and allowing a transgender person to use a dress code appropriate to their gender identity.

The new version of that section simply states the following: “Agencies are encouraged to enact policies that lead to efficient and effective mission delivery.  Policies should require employees to follow dress and appearance rules consistent with the professional standards of their occupation.”

Of particular note is language buried in the section titled “Workplace assignments and duties.” In the previous version, it was noted that, “for a transitioning employee, once he or she has begun working full-time in the gender that reflects his or her gender identity, agencies should treat the employee as that gender for purposes of all job assignments and duties.”

The new version is far stricter on such, and includes a statement on “biological sex.”

“Individuals should be hired for, and stationed for assignments and duties, in accordance with the individual’s biological sex, consistent with the plain meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as articulated by the Attorney General memo of October 4, 2017,” reads the section.

That directive seeks to bar protections under title VII from applying to transgender people.

This is the second move against transgender people this week. The Trump administration has also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a quick ruling on their policy barring transgender people from serving in the military.

A ban on transgender troops was lifted under President Barack Obama in 2016, but Donald Trump declared his intent to reverse that via Twitter, leading to an executive order to ban transgender service.

The Trump administration has not won in any court challenge to the order, leading to the push to take it to the Supreme Court.

It was estimated in 2014 by the Williams Institute that approximately 15,500 transgender people are serving in the military, either on active duty or via the National Guard or Army Reserve. An additional 134,300 transgender people are veterans or retired from service.

It is one of the largest employers of transgender people in the country.

The Supreme Court, with the addition of Trump-appointed judges Gorsuch and Kavanaugh has swung to the right, and may uphold such a ban. This could also pave the way for future groups being banned from service by this administration.

It is unknown at this time if the Supreme Court will accept the administration’s unusual request in this case.

Written by Gwendolyn Smith, The New Civil Rights Movement. Image by Laurel Wreath of Victors [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons.

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