Black Friday is the perfect day for the government to release bad, controversial news. The second in-depth climate change report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was moved up from December, prompting speculation that its focus on the cost and impacts on health, water and infrastructure is not an analysis welcome by the Trump administration.
“Under President Obama, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which oversees all federal employees, issued detailed guidance protecting transgender people in the workforce. As of Friday, that guidance has disappeared and been replaced by generic language with no content specific to transgender people,” Ford reports. “The previous “Gender Identity Guidance” page, which was still live as of earlier this week, laid out definitions for terms related to transgender identities, and outlined specific expectations for respecting transgender employees. These included ensuring that trans workers could dress according to their gender identity, that they were called by their preferred names and pronouns, and that they were allowed to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.”
Though language on the new site still includes the words “gender identity” in the overall guidance on its non-discrimination policy, generic terms have replaced specific definitions.
Ford—who has consistently filed in-depth reporting on the treatment of trans people— notes how vital information has just been erased:
"Two vital sections have been erased without a trace: both the section on respecting employees’ names and pronouns and the section addressing access to ‘sanitary and related facilities.’ There is no longer any guidance whatsoever to ensure that trans people are respected according to their gender identity in the federal government. Should a manager have questions about how to respond when an employee comes out as transgender, they will find no answers on OPM’s page…. The changes to the page came without any announcement or notice.”
Meanwhile, in a one-two-punch the administration hopes will escape attention, the Trump Administration is trying to bypass the normal judicial appeals process by leap-frogging over three different courts and going directly to the US Supreme Court to decide the challenges to Trump’s transgender military ban in Doe v. Trump, Stockman v. Trump, and Karnoski v. Trump. Four federal courts have already issued preliminary injunctions in the total of four lawsuits, thus halting the ban while the cases are being heard. If the high court takes up the administration’s request this term, lifting the injunctions would be part of their consideration.