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Kansas City LGBTQ Folks Worry About Trump Administration Possibly Redefining Gender

Andrea Tudhope
KCUR 89.3
Alexx Abreu and his partner are both transgender. He says the latest news about the Trump administration hits home.

The Trump administration may be making a move toward redefining gender. That's according to a recent New York Times report, which explained that the new definition would limit gender to strictly male or female, a "biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth."

This would roll back the Obama administration's efforts to loosen the definition of gender, recognizing it as an individual's choice, not based on the sex assigned at birth. 

"What this does is it rips out legal protection for anyone who's transgender or gender-nonconforming," said Kansas City attorney Alexander Edelman. 

His law firm represents LGBTQIA people in civil rights cases, and he told KCUR this would essentially make it legal to, for example, fire a person for being transgender or deny an individual access to a bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

Beyond that, he said, if this is enacted, transgender people would not exist as far as the law is concerned.

"Like what is happening in the Kansas state legislature, the current administration nationally has made it very clear that they are targeting LGBTQ citizens and are passing legislation and executive orders that simply try to erase citizens out of existence," said Brian Shapley, with Equality Kansas of Metro Kansas City.

Ada Brumback, a transgender woman, echoed Shapley's assessment.

"I would want to say I almost feel blindsided by the whole thing, but I kind of don't," Brumback said. "I guess I didn't expect it to come to a point where my entire existence would be invalidated."

That said, Brumback doesn't believe this latest move will quickly undo all of the progress that's been made over the past decade for transgender and gender non-conforming people.

But Edelman said, unfortunately, it would. 

"It is extremely distressing. It really does feel like an attack," he said. 

Alexx Abreu, a transgender man in Kansas City, takes issue with the fact that the administration reportedly says they want to ground this definition in biology

"I don't even understand how they could think this is science," he said. "What about intersex individuals, who are literally physically born with different variations of chromosomes and sex hormones and genitals? How can you tell somebody who is born as many things, with many things, they are one or the other?"

Abreu said this really hits home for him because his partner is transgender, too. 

"And she's a Latin trans woman of color," he said. "It's threatening to not only me but my life in every aspect. And it's scary."

But, Abreu said, if nothing else, this motivates him to speak out and protect others in the community, especially for young transgender and non-binary individuals. 

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @_tudhope

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
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