SAGE Condemns Trump Administration Plans to Erase Transgender People, Vows to Stand with Trans Elders

A new proposal by the Trump administration aims to obliterate federal civil rights protections for transgender people by creating a narrow definition of gender
[New York, NY] – Continuing its concerted, organized efforts to erase federal recognition of more than 1 million transgender Americans, the Trump administration is considering a drastic move to strip away their rights by creating an extremely narrow federal definition of gender.

The New York Times reported Sunday that transgender identity could be “defined out of existence” for federal government purposes if the Trump administration carries out a plan to establish a new definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans sex-based discrimination in “any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” The proposed change would narrowly define gender as male or female—unchangeable and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, which would eliminate anti-discrimination protections for transgender people. This proposal is part of a far-reaching effort the Trump administration hopes to implement to narrowly define sex and exclude any recognition of, or protections for, transgender people throughout the federal government.

Such a narrow reading of gender and reversal of anti-discrimination protections would have a devastating impact on transgender elders, who already face numerous barriers to health care, housing, and fair treatment under the law, according to “Improving the Lives of Transgender Older Adults,” issued by SAGE and the National Center for Transgender Equality. Rolling back these safeguards could put the lives of transgender elders in jeopardy by enabling health insurers, hospitals, clinics, and any other entities that receive federal funds to deny essential care.

“We are outraged by this senseless, bigoted attack on transgender Americans. This latest move by the Trump administration is an affront to core principles of fairness and would fall hardest on transgender people who are old, young, people of color, and most at the margins,” says SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “This heartless attack is the latest in a string of efforts by this administration to erase and silence transgender people. As we have in the past, SAGE will vigorously fight this proposal until we succeed.”

In 2017, SAGE successfully opposed efforts by the Trump administration to remove transgender elders from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants. After an extensive campaign by SAGE and its partners, the administration was forced to back down and reissue a trans-inclusive survey. SAGE also has joined efforts to oppose the administration’s moves to repeal protections for students and members of the military who are transgender. Earlier this month, SAGE hosted the signing by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio of a path-breaking NYC law that creates a gender X marker and makes it easier for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to amend their birth certificates.

SAGE joins with our partners at the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Transgender Law Center and all people of good will who are fighting the relentless assaults on the transgender community by the Trump administration. Standing with and on behalf of transgender elders, we will not back down and we refuse to be invisible.


SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ+) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBTQ+ older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBTQ+ elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBTQ+ community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States.