March 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Trump officials decline meeting with lawmakers on anti-trans rollbacks

Trump administration officials have declined a meeting request by Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.) on anti-trans rollbacks. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Trump officials have declined a request from the Congressional Transgender Task Force to meet over administration actions seen as rollbacks to transgender rights, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

A House aide on Thursday told the Blade that officials from the civil rights offices at both the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Department of Homeland Security turned down the request to meet, which was initiated in a letter dated Feb 13. to eight departments within the administration.

At the same time, officials from the civil rights offices in the other six departments had yet to respond to the lawmakers’ request for meeting, the House aide said. The letter had a Feb. 23 deadline for a response.

The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.), chair of the Congressional Transgender Task Force, who led a group of five lawmakers in demanding the meeting with Trump administration officials.

Among the concerns cited in the letter were the withdrawal of guidance assuring transgender kids access to school restrooms consistent with their gender identity, Trump’s transgender military ban and the Justice Department’s disavowal of Title VII protections for transgender people.

“During the first year of the this administration, transgender Americans have endured a systematic attack on their dignity, rights and freedom,” the letter says.

Other concerns in the letter are the creation of a Conscience & Religious Freedom Division within the Department of Health & Human Services, which is seen as a tool for anti-LGBT discrimination, and reports the Education Department isn’t investigating transgender civil rights claims in school.

The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security didn’t respond Thursday to a request from comment on the assertion Trump officials denied the request for a meeting.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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