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Statements by HHS Leaders Commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizes Transgender Day of Remembrance on Saturday, November 20 in memory of the lives of transgender people tragically lost to violence in the last year, and the countless transgender people who face discrimination, violence, and harassment. We must honor those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence with action.

To address the crisis of anti-transgender stigma and violence, HHS has recently taken several actions:

The HHS Office for Civil Rights now interprets and enforces Section 1557 and Title IX’s prohibitions on discrimination based on sex to include: (1) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain covered health programs or activities.  HHS clarified its position in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County and subsequent court decisions.

The Administration for Children and Families funded a $400,000 cooperative agreement for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Institute on Intimate Partner Violence grant program. This 5-year grant will support the development of innovative technical assistance and training models, the promotion of best practices and evidence-informed research, systems advocacy, and collaborations, among other important areas. This new grant will ensure that Family Violence Prevention & Services grantees and LGBTQ-specific organizations continue to receive expert training and technical assistance on supporting LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $3 million in FY21 funds to supplement Capacity Building Assistance for High Impact HIV Prevention Program Integration. The purpose of this supplemental funding is to expand programmatic activities currently implemented under Clinical HIV Testing and Prevention for Persons with HIV. This expansion will focus on building the capacity of community based organizations and their local clinical and public health partners to collaboratively facilitate status neutral delivery of gender-affirming, integrated syndemic-related (e.g., HIV, STI, viral hepatitis, and people who use drugs health/harm reduction) testing, prevention, and care programs.

The steps HHS is taking to prevent discrimination against transgender Americans is just one part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.

As this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance reminds us, there is much work ahead to address the root causes of discrimination, denial of economic opportunity, and stigma that gender diverse people continue to face in the United States and around the world. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine, and Director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights Lisa Pino issued the following statements to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance and address its importance:

“On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we take a moment to reflect and remember transgender people whose lives were lost in despicable acts of violence. We honor them as we work to build a more equitable future, free from discrimination.” – Health and Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra

“During this poignant observance we must recommit ourselves to strongly advocate for the most vulnerable in our country. This includes transgender youth, seniors, immigrants and particularly trans individuals of color who are at risk not only of bullying and harassment but also violence and murder. The future for our community is brighter but we have not made progress unless we have made progress for all.” – HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, ADM Rachel Levine

“As we memorialize those we have lost to anti-transgender violence, HHS stands firm in our commitment to uphold the law and protect the civil rights of all people who access or seek access to covered health programs or activities. Let us work together to change hearts and secure a future for transgender people that is free from discrimination, hatred, and violence.”– HHS Office for Civil Rights Director Lisa J. Pino.

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Author: ASH Media

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