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LGBTQ advocates: Trump health policy changes will hurt trans people

LGBTQ advocates are denouncing an attempt by President Donald Trump’s administration to end transgender protections in the Affordable Care Act.

Section 1557 of the ACA was interpreted by President Barack Obama’s administration to include transgender identity under protections against sex discrimination. That part of the act has been blocked from going into effect through lawsuits since 2016.

On Friday, the Trump administration issued a new rule that proclaims gender identity will not be protected.

“When Congress prohibited sex discrimination, it did so according to the plain meaning of the term, and we are making our regulations conform,” said Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, in a statement on the rule.

There is a 60 day public comment period before the rule can be finalized.

Equality NC denounced the proposed change Friday.

“Transgender people, like all people, have the right to expect that when they seek medical care, they will be treated with respect and not with harassment or violence,” said Kendra Johnson, executive director of Equality NC. “Today’s proposed rule upends two decades of courts finding that sex discrimination laws protect transgender people from that treatment. We need folks to tell HHS that we oppose any rule that lets doctors, nurses, and hospitals deny care based on who you are.”

“This move by the Trump administration is the latest in series of disturbing and targeted attacks on transgender Americans over the last several years,” Johnson said. “From our schools to our businesses to our military, transgender folks are part of the social fabric of everyday life and deserve the same rights, protections and care as all other Americans. Equality North Carolina is infuriated at this attempt to institutionalize discrimination against our trans brothers, sisters and siblings and affirms our solidarity with all folks affected by this attack.”

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