Trump Administration Erases Civil Rights Protections for Health and Human Services Programs | National Center for Transgender Equality

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Gillian Branstetter, Media Relations Manager
November 1, 2019

Trump Administration Erases Civil Rights Protections for Health and Human Services Programs

The Trump administration announced today that it would abandon civil rights rules for organizations receiving billions in taxpayer dollars.

Announced by HHS this morning, the rule immediately removes any requirement that recipients of grants from HHS enforce nondiscrimination rules that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Impacting all discretionary and non-discretionary grants across the Department, the rule will allow anti-transgender discrimination in HIV and STI prevention programs, opioid programs, youth homelessness services, health professional training, substance use recovery programs, and many other life-saving services addressing crises with a disparate impact on transgender people in the US.  

HHS has already separately moved to allow discrimination in Medicare and Medicaid programs through the elimination of an Obama-era rule protecting transgender people from discrimination in health care. The rule announced today will also remove rules prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion. 

Mara Keisling, Executive Director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, provided the following statement:

“This rule is an abuse of taxpayer dollars in the name of empowering hatred and bigotry towards society’s most vulnerable members. Stigma and prejudice are fueling a public health crisis among transgender people across the country, one that manifests itself as suicide, addiction, intimate partner violence, and HIV. Enabling providers of life-saving services to worsen these crises by rejecting transgender people is a moral crime and a severe abdication of HHS’s mission to preserve public health.”

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:

  • Transgender people are three times as likely to be living with HIV

  • Transgender youth are six times as likely to experience a suicide attempt and at least twice as likely to use illicit substances such as heroin and opioids.

 

According to US Transgender Survey:

  • Transgender adults are nine times as likely to experience a suicide attempt in their lifetime as their non-transgender peers

  • One in three transgender people has experienced homelessness in their lifetime; one in eight has experienced it in the last year.

  • Transgender adults are twice as likely to live in poverty and three times as likely to be unemployed

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