As of the August 13 deadline for public comments on the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of a regulation protecting transgender people’s access to health care, a national coalition of civil rights organizations collected over 132,400 comments in defense of transgender health — more than any other regulation since Regulation.Gov was launched in 2003. 

The National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender Law Center created the Protect Trans Health campaign in response to the May 24 announcement that the Department of Health and Human Services planned to roll back the Health Care Rights Law, an Obama-era regulation making it clear that discrimination against transgender people by providers, hospitals, and insurers is illegal. To learn more about the administration’s plan to deny transgender people equal treatment, visit ProtectTransHealth.org

According to HHS, the department itself received over 130,000 comments before the coalition finished contributing all of its own. However, as of now, HHS has failed to make any of these comments available to the public.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, pointed out that the scale of this campaign makes it difficult to ignore:

“We are so thankful for the thousands and thousands of people who have stepped up to speak out against this administration and its dangerous plan. We’ve heard from trans people sharing stories of prejudice at their moments of greatest need, family and friends advocating for the rights and safety of their loved ones, and doctors fighting for the good of public health. The Trump administration can never claim ignorance about the very real harm posed by this rule. HHS must not ignore the unified voice of a large community demanding they do the right thing and discard this ill-conceived proposal.”

Shelby Chestnut, Transgender Law Center’s Director of Policy and Programs, highlighted how the work continues for the Protect Trans Health campaign:

“Thousands of people resoundingly declared that no one should be denied access to health care. This is an incredible feat, though not the end of our campaign to Protect Trans Health. Now that the comment period is over, our community will continue to share know your rights information and strategize around possible responses should the Trump-Pence administration move forward with this proposed rule.”

Transgender people face routine discrimination in health care settings. According to the US Transgender Survey:

  • One in four transgender people have been mistreated by an insurer, including being denied basic coverage or denied any coverage.
  • One in three transgender people have been mistreated by a medical provider, including rude comments, humiliating questions about their anatomy, or being turned away from an office or hospital.
  • One in three transgender people have declined to visit a doctor out of fear of mistreatment.

This week, 125 members of Congress condemned the rule and called for its immediate withdrawal, citing the rule’s potential to “embolden discrimination in our health care system and have devastating impacts on acccess to health care for millions across this country, exacerbating already troubling health disparities.”

This record-breaking achievement was made possible by the work of a national coalition of civil rights organizations that includes the National Center for Transgender Equality, Center for American Progress, TransChance Health, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, The National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Partnership for Women and Families, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the National Women’s Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Human Rights Campaign, the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights, FORGE, PFLAG National, the National Council of Jewish Women, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, National Health Law Program, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, Lambda Legal, Center for Constitutional Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Equality Federation, and Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need.

Transgender Law Center and Positively Trans staunchly oppose the proposed rules to amend regulations relating to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act . You can read our comments to the regulations here.

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Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.

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