Why the New York Times Freaked Out: A Memo Not Yet Released About Transgenders

By John Stonestreet Published on October 24, 2018

Last Friday, the headline of a breathless New York Times article read, “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence By Trump Administration.” Not true.

According to the New York Times, a memo from the Department of Health and Human Services would instruct government agencies to “define gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.” Thus, “an explicit and uniform definition of gender” would be used across government policy, and would be understood “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”

Also in the memo, “sex” would be defined as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”

The Times called this “the most drastic move yet in a government-wide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.”

Did Obama Define Transgenders Into Existence?

Here are two important things to know.

First, at least at the time I’m recording this, no one outside of the Times and the Department of HHS has seen the memo, or even knows what it says. Still, the breathless hysteria quickly spread to other media outlets, the LGBT community, and its allies.

Second, even if the Times report accurately describes the memo, the alleged proposal simply restores the status quo from less than five years ago. “In April 2014,” as David French explains, “the Obama administration quietly expanded the definition [of sex] — without an act of Congress or even a regulatory rulemaking process” — deciding that “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity…”

If Trump’s memo defines transgenders out of existence, then did Obama’s memo define them into existence? Of course not.

What followed was a series of what French called “extraordinarily aggressive mandates” from the Obama administration. For example, that notorious “Dear Colleague” letter sent to school districts across the country, stating the word “sex” should be understood to include gender identity, which it defined as “an individual’s internal sense of gender.”

The mandate required schools to “use a transgender student’s chosen pronouns” and to “open bathrooms, locker rooms, overnight accommodations, and even some sports teams to students based … (on) their chosen gender identity.”

So, if Trump’s memo defines transgenders out of existence, then did Obama’s memo define them into existence? Of course not. Individuals with deep confusion about their sexual identity pre-existed both memos. Obama’s memo didn’t create them, but by mandating government-run agencies to redefine reality, it did create a lot of problems.

And so a biological male, complete with mustache, won Connecticut’s 100-meter girls’ high school track and field championship.

Reversing Extra-Constitutional Lawlessness

When Congress passed Title IX in 1972, it never anticipated that the word “sex” would be applied to include “gender preference.” But after numerous failed attempts to align federal anti-discrimination laws like Title IX with the new sexual orthodoxy, the Obama administration decided to amend the law via a memo.

Of course, that’s not how the constitutional system is supposed to work. Redefining “sex” for the purpose of federal law is the job of Congress, not the Executive Branch.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

All that’s being proposed here, if the memo that no one has seen is even as “bad” as the Times reports, is a reversal of extra-constitutional lawlessness.

One Times columnist claimed that the administration regarded her as the equivalent of a mythical creature such as the hippogriff. Over at Slate, a columnist wrote about denying the humanity of transgender Americans. All of this is nonsense, of course — examples of the classic tactic of “you either fully affirm me on my terms, or you deny my humanity.”

Nothing of the sort is going on here. What’s going on is that the authority to change the law is being returned to its rightful place: Congress.


Originally published on BreakPoint.org: BreakPoint Commentaries. Republished with permission of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Chester Courtland

    Transgenderism is a mental illness. It must be left out of school and school athletics. President Trump is right when he and other medical doctors say that there are only two human sexes, female and male.

  • K Hillmann

    The Truth: does it exist, can we discover it and know it, and does it matter?

    “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…” – Jesus

  • Jim Walker

    Please release it. That is the right thing to do.

  • Spear

    Everything I read these days confirms my belief we are the “generation that shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matt. 24:34).

    And every warnings about how mankind will be in those last days, also confirms this sense in me. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ear; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

    “No man that warmth entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a SOLDIER.” (2 Tim. 2:4)

    Prepare yourselves Soldiers. There will only be a Remnant. Are you one of them?

    • Not at all. we are just getting out of the 100 year reign of the devil, so the devil is lashing out

  • If you think that a law defines you or does not define you, then you will insecure until you are a dictator and you can perfectly control all laws.

  • azsxdcf1

    Who invited these quacks into the room? These desperate and deceived souls are funding a mass border invasion; sending bombs to each other (which will never detonate) in order to generate widespread “sympathy for the devil”; and telling us you are whatever sex you think you are!

    They are all nuts.

    I am standing with the remnant of logical, sensible, folks and those of us who are believers in The Truth. And we know who wins this war… the Bible tells us to: “Be deceived not, God is NOT mocked.(Galatians 6:7).

    Let’s make our world great again, and silence these fools with prayer.

A Picture of Prayer
Dudley Hall
More from The Stream
Connect with Us