According to a report by the New York Times, the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services has released a memo, lobbying other departments, particularly those involved in Title IX protections, to adopt a narrow, dangerous, and overreaching definition of gender that would destroy legal protections for trans, nonbinary, and intersex Americans, and would legally refuse to acknowledge even the existence of transgender, nonbinary, and intersex people. This cannot happen.

Don’t just wait to vote in the midterms. This is an EMERGENCY.

In response to this horrifying news I am keeping a record of ways you can fight back. Now. Right now.


Call the department of health and human services

Here is a script for you to use when you call:

I'm calling today to express my dismay and disapproval of the recently reported on memo from the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the definition of sex for purposes of protections like those afforded by Title IX.

The proposed definition of sex and gender would significantly and materially impact millions of trans, nonbinary, and intersex Americans, including their ability to obtain identification, jobs, housing and healthcare, and would further enable discrimination from employers, landlords, and state and federal governments.

The memo also relies on faulty science as a smoke screen for its obvious political motivation. The consensus in the medical and scientific communities does not support the assertions from the memo.

I urge the Secretary and the Department to discard the draft, and instead leave those protections in place or even pursue the strengthening of those protections. Thank you for your time.

send a fax or snail mail

Charles Celeste Hutchins goes into detail here, but succinctly, “While emailing them is possible, I suspect it’s more useful to send snail mail or fax. The pile of documentation is harder to ignore.”

There are a number of free or cheap e-fax services you can use, including FaxZero (please note that they limit the number of pages you can send to 3, and the number of daily faxes you can send to 5, but that additional pages or faxes are not very expensive).

If you want to pay the extra $1.99 through PayPal to send a longer fax, I suggest sending a cover letter with your support for trans, nonbinary, and intersex people, along with the PDF of this very concise article in Nature that gives a broad overview of the last decade and a half of research in sex and genetics, with a host of references to original research in the bibliography at the bottom. (It’s 4 pages long, so is not covered by the free service.)

And if you’re in the same city as one of the regional offices, show up and tell the regional managers to their faces.

Department of Health and Human Services

Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Phone: (202) 690-7000
Email Address: Secretary@HHS.gov

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201

Toll-free:  (800) 368-1019
TDD toll-free:  (800) 537-7697

OCR Regional Offices

New England Region - (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)

Susan Rhodes, Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Government Center
J.F.Kennedy Federal Building - Room 1875
Boston, MA 02203
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD: (800) 537-7697
Email: ocrmail@hhs.gov

Eastern and Caribbean Region - (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)

Linda Colón, Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Jacob Javits Federal Building
26 Federal Plaza - Suite 3312
New York, NY 10278
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD: (800) 537-7697
Email: ocrmail@hhs.gov

Mid-Atlantic Region - (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)

Barbara Holland, Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
801 Market Street, Suite 9300
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3134
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD: (800) 537-7697
Email: ocrmail@hhs.gov

Southeast Region - Atlanta (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)

Timothy Noonan, Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center, Suite 16T70
61 Forsyth Street, S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303-8909
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD :(800) 537-7697
Email: ocrmail@hhs.gov

Midwest Region - (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin)

Steven Mitchell, Acting Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
233 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 240
Chicago, IL 60601
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD: (800) 537-7697
Email: ocrmail@hhs.gov

Kansas City

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
601 East 12th Street - Room 353
Kansas City, MO 64106
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD: (800) 537-7697
Email: ocrmail@hhs.gov

Southwest Region - (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)

Marisa Smith, Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
1301 Young Street, Suite 1169
Dallas, TX 75202
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD: (800) 537-7697
Email: ocrmail@hhs.gov

Rocky Mountain Region - (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)

Andrea Oliver, Regional Manager
HHS/Office for Civil Rights
1961 Stout Street
Room 08-148
Denver, CO  80294
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD: (800) 537-7697
Email: ocrmail@hhs.gov

Pacific Region - (Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Marshall Islands, Nevada, Oregon, Republic of Palau, Washington)

Michael Leoz, Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
90 7th Street, Suite 4-100
San Francisco, CA 94103
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD: (800) 537-7697
Email: ocrmail@hhs.gov