Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, responded to an explosive New York Times report that the Trump-Pence Administration intends to redefine "sex" to intentionally exclude LGBTQ people and their families from non-discrimination protections. "And no matter what this administration orders federal agencies to do, the courts still have the authority to interpret these laws and will continue to protect transgender people". It would be legally unchangeable and any dispute about one's sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.
Over the weekend, the White House released a memo saying the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to revise the definition of "sex".
The piece goes on to point out that "the new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves - surgically or otherwise - as a gender other than the one they were born into".
Official moves away from LGBT protection come as transgender people take on a higher national prominence.
The Department of Health and Human Services told United States media it will not comment on alleged document leaks. The Department of Defense also announced earlier this year that it would ban most transgender people from serving in the military, except under exceptional circumstances.
The Times report said HHS has argued privately that sex should not include gender identity "or even homosexuality", and that the Obama administration was wrong to extend civil rights protections. The Justice Department has not yet been asked to render a formal legal opinion, according to an official there who was not authorised to speak about the process.
In 2016, Judge Reed O'Connor ruled on a challenge to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that forbade discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, and other characteristics.
"A federal court has blocked HHS's rule on gender identity and termination of pregnancy as contrary to law and infringing the rights of healthcare providers across the country", Severino's statement said.
Indeed, the health and human services proposal was prompted, in part, by pro-transgender court decisions in the past year that upheld the Obama administration's position. Under Trump, several agencies have withdrawn policies that recognise transgender identity in schools, prisons and homeless shelters, and there was even an attempt to withdraw questions about gender identity from the 2020 census.