amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR Opposes Latest Assault on Transgender Rights

 Trump administration aims to redefine gender in a move that would undermine protections for transgender individuals

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, strongly opposes the Trump administration's intent to narrowly define sex as either male or female, effectively defining transgender individuals "out of existence," according to a Department of Health and Human Services memo obtained by The New York Times. The memo states that "the sex listed on a person's birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person's sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence."

This is the latest in a string of moves that constitutes a sustained assault on the rights of the estimated 1−1.4 million transgender individuals in America. Not only is it a flagrant violation of the human rights of an already marginalized and stigmatized minority, but it would also seriously undermine efforts to combat the nation's HIV epidemic.

Transgender individuals have long been disproportionately affected by HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately one-quarter of transgender women are living with HIV, a proportion that rises to 56% among African American transgender women.  Transgender individuals are more than three times as likely to test HIV positive than the general population.

Transgender individuals experience a wide range of challenges that place them at high risk of HIV infection, including widespread discrimination by employers and health care providers. Societal stigma against the transgender community contributes to low levels of HIV testing, decreased retention in medical treatment and care, and limited involvement in prevention and treatment research.

"Because HIV is primarily a disease among marginalized populations in the United States, the fight to combat HIV is intrinsically a human rights issue," said Greg Millett, vice president and director of public policy at amfAR.

Learn more about HIV vulnerabilities in the transgender community by visiting the CDC. For support, please visit Lambda Legal, GLSEN and the It Gets Better Project.