At present, American political rhetoric actively incorporates the questions of gender and sexuality. One of the recent issues that caught the public eye and media attention is the Trump administration’s treatment of transgender people’s healthcare rights. There has been a long-lasting discussion about sex-based discrimination in the Affordable Care Act since its introduction. Some people have interpreted it as including discrimination against transgender people, while others have excluded transgender people from it. The conservative administration chose the latter side and recently began to take action.
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In the summer of 2020, the Trump administration attempted to infringe upon the rights of transgender people. It started with the critique of Obama’s Affordable Care Act definition of discrimination based on sex. Current legislators claim that discrimination against transgender people is not sex-based (Sanger-Katz & Weiland, 2020, para. 6). In August, a federal judge found the new formulations provided by the Trump administration incompatible with a recent Supreme Court’s decision regarding discrimination against transgender people (Sanger-Katz & Weiland, 2020, para. 2). Consequently, the judge introduced a temporary ban on the rule allowing doctors to deny transgender patients of care (Sanger-Katz & Weiland, 2020, para. 3). Judge Block decided to hear proponents and opponents of the new law before choosing to prolong or lift the ban (Sanger-Katz & Weiland, 2020, para. 15). The question is how to interpret the anti-discrimination protections against sex-based discrimination in the Affordable Care Act.
The issue mostly concerns transgender people whose preferred gender does not match the assigned one. This category includes non-binary people, who do not identify as strictly female or male. Students can be particularly vulnerable to the problem, since sexuality develops throughout adolescence, plus, young adults face many external stressors associated with increasing responsibilities, peer pressure, stigmas, etc. Thus, potential sex-based discrimination in healthcare can diminish students’ mental and physical well-being. The external limitations and stigmas, political, legal, and social values can slow the psychological development, pushing a young person to conceal or deny their gender identity. They can even cause depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The administration’s attempts to remove the classification of discrimination against transgender people as sex-based might not directly affect only those students who have developed a clear self-identity. However, it is probably a sensitive topic for their peers, especially any LGBTQ+ supporters.
In my opinion, the president’s administration should not introduce the law in question since it can potentially harm numerous people by causing them psychological distress and denying them access to medical help. From my perspective, depriving people of access to healthcare based on any justification goes against the fundamental human right to universal health coverage. Apart from that, presenting patients with a choice between their identity and health might cost them mental and physical well-being. What is more, “the policy is just a small piece of a broader, government-wide effort to diminish protections for transgender people” (Cameron, 2020, para. 4). Thus, the Trump administration is working on a comprehensive program restricting transgender people’s rights. The discrimination against transgender people is ultimately sex-based since gender identity is part of sexuality. The view that gender consists solely of two assigned genders is outdated and discriminatory. Finally, the transgender women sent to the men’s clinics could become victims of abuse due to social prejudice. Therefore, the law removing transgender patients from the protection against sex-based discrimination may cause harm.
To sum up, gender is a necessary part of self-identity and sexuality. It is harmful to subject either young people who are still psychologically developing or fully grown adults to sex-based discrimination. The new rule that the president’s administration proposes allows medical providers to deny transgender people care. Its introduction can bring mental and physical damage to transgender people and those who do not yet identify as such since they are still exploring their gender identity. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the issue is polarising and newsworthy.
Cameron, C. (2020) Trump presses limits on transgender rights over Supreme Court ruling. The New York Times. Web.
Sanger-Katz, M., & Weiland N. (2020) Judge blocks Trump officials’ attempt to end transgender health protections. The New York Times. Web.
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