October 25, 2018

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) firmly rejects a reported proposal by the Trump/Pence Administration to redefine sex in civil rights law to eliminate anti-discrimination protections for transgender people.  The new definition proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services in a memo reported by The New York Times on October 21, 2018, would redefine sex in Title IX of the Civil Rights Act as either male or female, based on a person’s sex organs at birth.  The claim that this definition would be “grounded in science” ignores findings of decades of scientific research widely accepted by the medical community.

This proposed change in definition would rollback protections and deny individuals’ identities and is in direct conflict with the AATA’s mission, vision, and values.  The AATA joins numerous social and civil human rights organizations and mental and medical health associations to unequivocally oppose this atrocious reported proposal.  A definition change of this kind would, if widely adopted by federal departments, would impact the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQIA community, among these are students and individuals who are incarcerated, insecurely housed, or struggling with physical and mental health issues such as depression, suicidality, and isolation.  The AATA stands firmly in support  of the transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) communities and continues to reject each individual effort the Administration makes to systematically rollback protections for these communities.

We urge the Administration and federal agencies to wholeheartedly reject any efforts to eliminate existing civil rights protections at a time when our most vulnerable communities are in need of support and not another avenue for systemic marginalization.

We encourage art therapists and LGBTQIA allies to engage in support of the TGNC communities. To join the conversation online, we suggest using the hashtag #WontBeErased and visiting the following resources: