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Locals react to proposed gender-definition change

Posted at 10:45 PM, Oct 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 01:49:47-04

The Central Coast LGBTQ community is speaking out, after hearing President Trump is considering changing the meaning of gender to be determined by a person’s sex at birth.

For Jamie Woolf, a transgender woman living on the Central Coast, the past 24 hours have been gut-wrenching.

“When I read that Sunday morning, felt like I had just been punched in the stomach – the air had been knocked out of me and I really felt like I was going to start to cry. I felt so sad,” Woolf said.

Sunday, a document from the Department of Health and Human Services was leaked and released by the New York Times.

The memo shares how the Trump administration would like to re-define gender as just what people are at birth, taking away laws and policies in place to protect the transgender community.

“The biggest fear is my government is no longer going to protect me and the 1.4 million other transgender people like me,” Woolf said.

She’d like to see people who are trans to be treated like everyone else.

“We’re just normal people – we just wanna have a healthy, happy life just like everyone else and just want to have the freedom to be who we are.”

But for people like Ron Stevens, of Santa Margarita, he agrees with where the Department of Health and Human Services is headed.

“God made Adam and Eve , that was a man and a woman and that’s the way he wants it,” Stevens said.

Stevens believes there are only the two genders people are born with.

“It’s on your birth certificate when you’re born that you’re a boy or a girl, male or female, that’s exactly how it should read and it’s been that way forever and I think it should stay that way.”

KSBY reached out to Cal Poly to find out what would the change would mean for the university as they just opened dorms with gender-neutral bathrooms. They were unable to get a comment for us at this time.

Local LGBT groups released a joint statement Monday afternoon saying:

As local organizations that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community we are horrified about news reported over the weekend that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to narrowly define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, with the choice of only male and female. This is dismissive of both science and individual rights.

We know there are many combinations of chromosomes, hormones, and genitals present in the variety of human experience, and our organizations work to increase the physical health and mental well being of all individuals on the gender and sexuality spectrum.

If this legal definition makes its way into Title IX, it will increase discrimination on the basis of gender identity in educational settings. The implications for expansion are many: Same sex couples may be turned away from shelters, denied health care, refused meal services and more.

This rule will not eliminate the decisions made by dozens of federal courts over the last two decades, but in addition to the attempt to discriminate against transgender military personnel and remove bathroom protections, the dangerous precedent of a course specifically against the LGBTQ+ community is being set.

Transgender people are already marginalized. 1.4 million Americans struggle to be accepted every day. They don’t go to the doctor when necessary due to stigma and cost. 41% attempt suicide at some point in their lives compared with 4.6% of the general population. They stay home from school due to bullying, and they are homeless due to family reaction when coming out.

GALA, Tranz Central Coast, 5 Cities Hope, Santa Maria H.O.P.E. and the Central Coast Coalition for Inclusive Schools, urge our community to stay vigilant as we work to keep protections hard fought for and recently won.

We strongly oppose any change to the Title IX definitions around sex assigned at birth and gender identity.