Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, More Stars Slam Trump's Potential Policy to Roll Back Trans Protections

Tibrina Hobson/WireImage;JB Lacroix/WireImage; Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for ELLE Magazine
Caitlyn Jenner; Laverne Cox; Lady Gaga

"This leaked memo is an unacceptable attack on my community," Jenner said in a statement following a New York Times report that the administration is considering implementing a gender definition that would roll back protections for transgender individuals.

A number of Hollywood stars have used their platforms to criticize a potential Trump administration initiative to legally determine gender based on the genitalia a person is born with. The policy would mark a drastic move in the government's efforts to dissolve the recognition and protection of transgender individuals under federal civil rights laws.

The New York Times revealed a memo on Sunday that the Department of Health and Human Services drafted to create a uniform definition of sex under Title IX, which bans discrimination based on a person's sex in programs that are federally funded. The memo argues that gender is something that cannot be changed.

Caitlyn Jenner, who has previously been outspoken about her support of Trump, is one of the many critics of the plan. “The Trump administration has ferociously attacked my community again. Just as an FYI, Mr. President — the military is the single largest employer of trans people in the world. This leaked memo is an unacceptable attack on my community," she said in a statement. "We will not be erased!”

Jenner was very vocal about her support for Trump during the 2016 presidential election but has since spoken out about anti-trans policies, like Trump's signed order banning transgender individuals from serving in the military.

Transgender actress Laverne Cox responded to the potential policy on Twitter on Sunday. "We must not give up the fight. But in the face of this affront on my existence and the existence of my community I choose love not fear. We exist and always have," she wrote.

"In indigenous cultures all over the world gender existed beyond the binary and folks who we would call trans today held sacred places in those cultures. Western colonialism drove those trans folks to the margins but we have always been here. Marginalizing trans folks is another example of the brutality of colonialism," Cox wrote. "This latest administration effort to legislate trans folks out of existence is yet another example of why the fight for gender equity must be intersectional and necessarily must include trans folks. Trans folks need everyone to stand with us in this fight, to let our government know this is not who we are."

Cox then encouraged her followers in Massachusetts to vote yes on question 3 in the midterm elections. If the poll receives enough no votes, a referendum will go into action that repeals the state's law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places.

The actress and activist concluded the Twitter thread by encouraging others to fight for trans rights: "Trans people have been under attack by this administration from day 1 and in state legislatures for years now. Let's join together America and assert #TransRightsAreHumanRights." 

Billy Eichner also took to Twitter to criticize the potential policy. "This is pure evil. Get your friends together and vote like our lives depend on it. Because they do," he wrote in response to the Times report.

Lady Gaga voiced her criticism of the government on her Twitter account on Monday. "The government may be living in an alternate universe, but we as a society & culture know who we are and know our truth and must stick together and raise our voices so we can educate them about gender identities," she wrote. "While today you might feel unheard or unseen, know that this is not the reality of humanity. This is another display of leadership being driven by ignorance."

Ellen DeGeneres responded to the news by using it as a way to encourage her followers to vote. After Hillary Clinton tweeted that the potential policy is "an attack on the humanity of transgender people and it cannot stand," the talk show host shared the tweet and added, "Still not sure about voting in November?"

Andy Cohen addressed the controversial policy on Monday's episode of Watch What Happens Live. "Trans people are among the most vulnerable in our society, and as people in Washington quietly try to make this a scarier, less safe world for them, it's time for the rest of us to decide what kind of country that we want to be," said Cohen.

"To all of my trans friends out there, I just want you to know we support you. We fight with you. Your rights are human rights," he continued. "They cannot be erased, and you cannot be erased."

Over on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert shared his criticism of the policy. After updating his audience on the policy, he said, "You can't just redefine something to make it go away. I learned that the hard way when I tried to convince everyone in high school my nickname 'Skid Mark' was because of all the cool driving moves I did."

The host added that the Trump administration wants to define gender in a way that is "'grounded in science.' Oh, now you care about science." Colbert then broke out his Trump impression: "'Look, I haven't reviewed the science on climate change, but I am very interested in what science has to say about baby junk.'"

"Gender is clearly a spectrum. Okay, we know this. For instance, I identify as a man, but it's a little fluid. I enjoy getting my hands dirty and repairing boats. Then again, my favorite book is about elves and jewelry," said Colbert.