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GMHC Statement on New DOJ Order About Trans Rights in the Workplace

Rally Tonight — October 6 — at 6 pm in New York City’s Foley Square

October 6, 2017
Contact: Cub Barrett | 212-367-1561|

Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) is outraged that the United States Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has chosen to revoke the decision by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder that provided employment protections for transgender individuals under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“By ordering the Justice Department to take the position in court that transgender people are not protected by a civil rights law that bans workplace discrimination based on sex, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is continuing to dismantle civil rights protections advanced by the Obama administration to protect transgender peoples’ human rights,“ said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. “Attacking employment protections is especially harmful since obtaining employment is one of the biggest challenges trans people face. This is a continuation of the current administration’s assault on LGBTQ rights.”

“By interpreting ‘sex’ to mean the gender identity of individuals, former Attorney General Eric Holder used a current definition of sex to provide protection to transgender people, a position supported by numerous court decisions,” said Cecilia Gentili, GMHC Director of Public Policy.

“Attorney General Sessions is now stating that in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ‘sex’ means only ‘biologically male or female,’” Gentili said. “Therefore, according to Sessions, the Civil Rights Act does not ban ‘discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.’ This interpretation of the definition of sex is not only decades old but is discounting the rights of people to self determine their gender identity; it is clearly an attack on the human dignity of trans people based solely on trans phobia and hatred of anything that is not based on a hetero-normative worldview,” said Gentili, herself a trans women.

GMHC will continue to stand with our trans brothers and sisters to fight for the protection of their human rights and dignity, and is hosting a rally at New York City’s Foley Square (111 Worth Street) at 6:00 pm on Friday, October 6, to express our support for the trans community.

GMHC is also hosting its first-ever job fair specifically for transgender individuals at its Midtown Manhattan headquarters on November 1. If you’re an interested employer or participant, please contact


About Gay Men's Health Crisis: Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the world's first HIV/AIDS service organization. GMHC is on the front lines providing services to over 12,000 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Programs include: testing, prevention, nutrition, legal, supportive housing, mental health and substance use services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal levels with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic. For more information, visit