US officials could soon be bumping heads with former United Nations allies over human rights documents that use the word ‘gender’ – as Trump administration seeks to all but wipe transgender people from existence.
Officials have been pushing for the rewriting of the UN’s Third Committee general assembly policy statements, arguing that the language used is vague and politically correct.
The committee works with issues concerned with ‘social, humanitarian and cultural’ rights.
The officials from the United States are positing that the current conversation uses ‘ideology’ that isn’t based in an unchangeable biological fact, the Guardian reports.
But while the personnel from Washington have been extremely vocal about wanting the changes, none of them are actually full-time UN diplomats.
‘We are seeing this more and more coming up on the Third Committee, and this is going to be a battle in the coming weeks,’ a UN diplomat stated.
The European diplomat also noted that the US has added ‘gender’ on one occasion to policy language.
In order to get the desired changes, the US officials will have to partner with countries that they wouldn’t normally – including Russia and conservative Islamic states.
Another UN diplomat added: ‘If you only say violence against women, it doesn’t really tell the whole story. We shouldn’t be going along with encouraging their society to be regressive.
‘And if that means a blazing row in the Third Committee, I would have a blazing row in committee because I think some things are worth cherishing and worth hanging on to.’
A spokesperson with the US state department claimed that they were not trying to ‘exclude the protection of transgendered persons’ dictated in the UN resolution.
‘When certain parts of resolutions explicitly refer to issues affecting ‘women and girls’, our negotiators have suggested in several instances to change ‘gender’ to ‘women’ and/or ‘women and girls’ to make the resolutions clearer, more specific, more accurate, and in our view, stronger in the Administration’s efforts to empower women and girls,’ the spokesperson stated.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that President Trump’s administration is attempting to strip transgender people of official recognition by creating a narrow definition of gender as being only male or female and unchangeable once it is determined at birth.
The Department of Health and Human Services has undertaken an effort across several government departments to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex, the Times said, citing a government memo that it obtained.
That definition would be as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals a person is born with, the Times reported.
Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified through genetic testing, according to the Times’ account of the memo.
Such an interpretation would reverse the expansion of transgender rights that took place under the previous administration of President Barack Obama.
It would also set back aspirations for tolerance and equality among the estimated 0.7 percent of the population that identifies as transgender. Most transgender people live with a profound sense that the gender assigned to them at birth was wrong and transition to the opposite sex, while others live a non-binary or gender fluid life.