Biden Administration Restores Obama’s Transgender Health Protections

Trump’s Policy of Limited Health Care Is Reversed.

It’s a Victory for Transgender Rights!

Last Monday, May 10, 2021, The Biden Administration reiterated that it had “the back of the LGBT population.”  Rescinding the Trump-era policy that sought to narrow the legal rights involving medical care of LGBT people, The Biden Administration is planning on restoring the policy under the Affordable Care Act from the Obama years.

There is no timetable yet for this change, but hospitals and clinics that don’t comply with the new rules will be penalized. The text will be more closely aligned with the Affordable Care Act text which doesn’t mention gender identity as a protected category in health care.  The Administration was using its authority under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act to enforce the ACA’s prohibition based on sex education.

Who Is Affected By This Policy

According to the Williams Institution, a research group at the UCLA School of Law that studies sexual orientation and gender identity policy, this policy change could affect the 1.4 million Transgender Adults and 150,000 Transgender teens, ages 13 to 17.

The Basis  for The Decision

In reviewing last year’s case Bostock vs. Clayton Co., which held that LGBT people are protected from discrimination under Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of ’64, The Supreme Court has ruled that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment. Health & Human Services’s Secretary, Xavier Becerra, said the agency interpreted  the anti-discrimination section of ACA (1557) which bans bias on the basis of race, color, national origin,s sex, age or disability by entities that primarily provide health care and receive federal funding.

All Those In Favor

Becerra said ‘fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forego care.  An individual should be able to access healthcare, free from discrimination or interference, period.”

Said the highest ranking openly transgender person in The Biden Administration Rachel Levine, HHS Assistant Secretary of Health, “it’s important to emphasize EVERYBODY needs access to health care.”

Disadvantages of Trump’s Policy

Trump’s policy was based on a limited definition of gender assigned at birth.  The new broader definition takes into account, a person’s gender identity as well as orientation.  This definition is shaped by a person’s inner sense of being male, female, neither, or a combination of the two.

Under the Trump Administration’s policy, claiming civil/ religious liberties, doctors and hospitals could discriminate against trans people by refuting to perform procedures they oppose such as gender-reassignment surgery.  The Trump Administration officials argued that as a legal matter, health care discrimination was separate from employment.

Another Important Legislation

In the interim, H.R.5 or The Equality Act passed the House on 2/25/21, but is stalled in the Senate.  It’s a bill that prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in areas including public accommodation and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing credit, and the jury system.  Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation and gender identity among prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.



Michael Stokes, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When Your Child is Gay

When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know

For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults

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