civil rights uniformity act
civil rights uniformity act

The ‘Civil Rights Uniformity Act’ Is the Latest Attempt to Hurt Trans Americans

If there’s one constant with the GOP, it’s giving names to bills that say the opposite of what they do. Religious Freedom Restoration Acts across the country only restored the freedom for religious folks to discriminate. The (thankfully dead) Better Care Reconciliation Act would have given Americans drastically worse health care. And now, the Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017 would uniformly strip civil rights from trans people.

H.R. 2796 was submitted to the House by four Republican Representatives: Peter Olson and Brian Babin of Texas, Ralph Lee Abraham Jr. of Louisiana and Vicky Jo Hartzler of Missouri. You might remember Rep. Hartzler from such transphobic nonsense as trying to ban the Pentagon from paying for gender confirmation therapy — claiming it would cost the Pentagon $1.3 billion over 10 years. (Spoiler alert: It wouldn’t.)

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The bill opens:

“The purposes of this Act are— (1) to prevent the executive branch from unilaterally rewriting Federal civil rights laws by enacting or implementing any policy or undertaking any enforcement action that is based on construing the term ‘sex’ or ‘gender’ to mean ‘gender identity’; and (2) to ensure that gender identity is not treated as a protected class in Federal law or policy without the affirmative approval of the people’s representatives in Congress.”

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Later text in the bill reads:

“No Federal civil rights law shall be interpreted to treat gender identity or transgender status as a protected class, unless such law expressly designates ‘gender identity’ or ‘transgender status’ as a protected class.”

It’s not even subtle. A shorter version of the bill may as well read: “Hey, Trans people! You don’t count as American citizens!” If this bill passes, only Congress would have the ability to pass any bills protecting transgender Americans — removing that ability from the executive branch. (Admittedly, with the current President, that’s not likely to be an issue Trump’s going to push for.)

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Of course, the bill is so poorly written — transphobes aren’t known for their smarts — that it would throw intersex and non-binary people into a legal limbo, as it doesn’t include any text addressing even the existence of such people.

Not to mention, as the Mary Sue points out, very few people — if any — actually have any sort of confirmation of their chromosomal makeup. The bill’s insistence on requiring the words “man” and “woman” to “refer exclusively to a person’s genetic sex” would imply that any American citizen who wants to sue over sexist discrimination would have to take a DNA test to “prove” their “genetic sex.”

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This insipid bill, if passed, would have an effect on Title IX, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing act, the Affordable Care Act and many, many more civil rights laws. It would have a devastating effect on a community that already has problems with discrimination and violence against it.

Laws like this prove the GOP cares only for oppressing the LGBT community — with special emphasis on the T. It’s more important than ever to tell Republicans where to stick their — surprisingly costly —  transphobia.

Featured image by AwakenedEye via iStock.