OutRight Comments On Rumored Anti-Trans Memo


24 October 2018

Media contact: Maria Sjödin, msjodin@outrightinternational.org

OutRight Comments On Rumored Anti-Trans Memo

The New York Times published an article on October 21st indicating that the Department of Health and Human Services intends to release a memo that would define sex according to biology, based on genitalia or genetic testing at birth.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, commented,

OutRight Action International vehemently condemns all efforts by the Trump Administration to define gender in biological or immutable terms. Such efforts amount to an attack on transgender and intersex Americans and would contradict everything we have learned from decades of progress for women’s rights and gender justice.

Much like climate change, the Trump administration and his supporters are on the wrong side of history when it comes to gender. Over the last few years, countries as diverse as Pakistan, Uruguay and Botswana have advanced the recognition of trans rights. Although much remains to be done globally for the full recognition and enjoyment of human rights for trans people, there is no doubt that the trajectory is going in the right direction.

Thankfully, the memo is only a confidential draft and has not impacted any laws or policies. However, even if it is eventually published, the Trump administration cannot undo all federal laws and court decisions that have repeatedly recognized the rights of transgender Americans to be from discrimination. They may try, but they will not win.



Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people’s human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.