US President Donald Trump attempted to downplay earlier reports that his administration seeks to radically change the current federal policy on transgender people, following outrage regarding the proposed alterations, Reuters reported Monday.
Responding to protests outside the White House and a wave of criticism on social media, Trump reportedly underscored that any proposals regarding transgender people are not set in stone and are subject to changes and revisions.
"We have a lot of different concepts right now. They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender right now," Trump said.
"I'm protecting everybody. I want to protect our country," he said, according to Reuters.
Earlier on Sunday, The New York Times reported on a leaked plan from the Department of Health and Human Services to introduce a new definition of gender to the word of law, which would define citizens' gender by their birth genitalia and would not be subject to change during a person's life.
"Sex means a person's status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth," the department's memo said. "The sex listed on a person's birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person's sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence."
Unsurprisingly, the report sparked widespread protest among people who identify themselves by other genders than they were assigned at birth.
"Defining 'sex' in this narrow language tailored to the talking points of anti-equality extremists is part of a deliberate strategy to eliminate federal protections for LGBTQ people," Chad Griffin, chairman of Human Rights Campaign, said, according to Telegraph.
However, transgender people aside, the proposed wording would also create problems for assigning sex in those rare cases when people are born with ambiguous genitalia, doctors say, according to Telegraph.
On a curious note, if this wording were adopted, it would make the US' policy on transgender people more negative than that of Russia, often criticized by the Western media for alleged persecution of LGBT people. While Russian law does not recognize "genderfluid" people and generally approaches the concept of transition very seriously, it allows a person's legal gender to be changed following a comprehensive course of psychological observation and surgical treatment. In 2018, Russia streamlined some procedures that often became a legal impasse for post-op transgender people before.