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Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Transgender Health care Rollback

Transgender Healthcare
The temporary injunction which bodes well for the court’s much anticipated final ruling excoriated the HHS for “arbitrarily and capriciously” targeting transgender people. Photo Sharon McCutcheon / unsplash

On Monday a Federal Judge issued a preliminary injunction staying the administration’s transgender healthcare rollback which was to take effect today.

Related: Trump tells Doctors Treatment of COVID19 Transgender Patients is Optional

U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block cited the June Supreme Court Ruling which found that transgender and gay people are protected in the workplace under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Transgender Heath care
Transgender woman Aimee Stephens passed away before the landmark supreme court R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling

R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was heard alongside Bostock v. Clayton County and Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda which dealt with Title VII protection related to sexual orientation. The Court ruled in a 6–3 decision under Bostock but covering all three cases on June 15, 2020, that Title VII protection extends to gay and transgender people.

Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the Court in this case on June 15, 2020. In a 6–3 decision, the Court held that Title VII protections did extend to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

“An employer who fired an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids. Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit.”

The stay cuts to the core of the Health and Human Services transphobic move and bodes well for transgender people in the court’s final ruling.

In his 26-page ruling, Block admonished the Department of Health and Human Services saying it acted arbitrarily and capriciously.

“In this case, the Court is tasked with having to decide if a proposed set of rules by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) is contrary to the Supreme Court’s pronouncement in Bostock or if the agency acted arbitrarily or capriciously in enacting the rules.”

“For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that the proposed rules are, indeed, contrary to Bostock and, in addition, that HHS did act arbitrarily and capriciously in enacting them. Therefore, it grants the plaintiffs’ application for a stay and preliminary injunction to preclude the rules from becoming operative.”

Brock wrote, “when the Supreme Court announces a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and reflect on the decision’s impact.”

“Since HHS has been unwilling to take that path voluntarily, the court now imposes it.”

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which challenged the transgender health-care rules in court, said the decision once again affirms that federal discrimination on the basis of sex includes transgender people.

“I hope that this sends a message to the Trump administration and to federal agencies that they should protect people from discrimination,” David said, “not expose them to bias and discrimination.

Kelli Busey
Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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