Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) joins an ever-growing chorus of global voices denouncing the Trump administration’s efforts to legally erase transgender and non-binary people by defining them out of existence.
In October, the New York Times reported on a leaked 2017 US Department of Health and Human Services memo urging government agencies to adopt a narrow, anti-scientific definition of sex-as-gender. According to the NYT, HHS’s desired definition of gender—determined by genitals at birth, immutable unless by genetic testing—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.”
OHSU, however, "strongly refutes" this federal attempt to redefine and limit gender.
“OHSU remains steadfast in its commitment to an environment that is inclusive and safe for all, and we will continue to advocate at the federal level to thwart such policies,” said OHSU spokseperson Tamara Hargens-Bradley in an email to the Mercury.
She referenced statements from both OHSU’s president, Dr. Danny Jacobs, and OHSU Transgender Health Program supervisor Amy Penkin.
“OHSU will remain unwavering in our commitment to care and to the health and wellness of transgender and gender diverse individuals. We will continue to be advocates at the system, community, state and federal level for the needs of transgender and gender diverse communities, and we will not let decisions at the national level deter us from this important work,” said Penkin in her October 23 statement.
“These words have been spoken before and cannot be overstated. But words are not enough. We are fortunate to have many members at OHSU who demonstrate integrity, compassion and leadership every day by providing the best possible health care, education, research and service for everyone, in a safe and inclusive environment,” said Jacobs, calling OHSU as “a safe and affirming place” for a wide range of patients, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, and DREAMers.
Thousands of international scientific agencies and 50 international companies representing $2.4 trillion in annual revenue have condemned the Trump administration’s and HHS’ stances for being anti-science. While then-candidate Donald Trump falsely promised on the 2016 campaign trail to worker harder for the LGBTQ+ community than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his administration has worked hard to rescind trans rights prior to the HHS memo leak. For a summary of the Trump Administration’s successful and failed assaults on the trans community, check this comprehensive list published by CNN.