Two unrelated but parallel developments today illustrate how determined the Trump administration is to keep its promises to conservative Christians in carving out a right to discriminate for those who claim a religious objection to LGBTQ equality. The first is a straightforward reversal of an Obama policy protecting health care for transgender people, as reported by The Hill:. The new regulation is of a piece with other anti-trans steps by the administration:. Earlier this month, the administration finalized rules making it easier for health workers and institutions to deny treatment to people if it would violate their religious or moral beliefs.
I N LATE MAY — just before the start of Pride Month — the Trump administration formally announced its intent to allow medical practitioners and health insurers to legally discriminate against transgender people. Thus, doctors would be free to turn away trans patients — not just to refuse them medical transition care but to refuse basic treatments , whether in the emergency room or the oncology ward. One of his first orders of business was to open a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the office. But any biologist will tell you that not everyone falls neatly into these two categories — nature offers many more than two configurations for human beings. Gender cannot be positively located in the body. Instead, we experience gender as an emergent phenomenon of what might be called the soul. If religious faith is an intimate and fundamental determination, which no one should be able to coerce or punish, then gender surely should be, too.
Notably, increased support crosses ideological divides within the parties. Support among supporters of President Donald Trump is identical to support among Republicans. There is broad support across demographic groups for transgender service in the military. Overall support for this policy and the intensity of support has been fluid over the last few years.
The CLGS Transgender Religious Roundtable testifies to the transfigurational power of spirituality and religion to nurture the full thriving and dignity of people of all genders. Transgender identity is a spiritual journey of revealing our true selves, which may involve medical and psychological intervention, and is not a defect or a disorder. Religious education about transgender and cisgender non-trans experience can heal what is broken about enforced gender normativity in our religious institutions and, in turn, heal what is broken in our religious communities for queer people of faith.