Actress Laverne Cox condemned a proposal reportedly under consideration by President Donald Trump’s administration to dramatically limit transgender rights, responding with a message that included a call to action.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that the administration is reviewing a policy that would narrowly define gender as either male or female ― a matter that, according to the proposal, is determined by genitalia at birth. Such a limited definition would have deeply negative impacts on the transgender community, potentially affecting their health.
Cox, a trans woman and activist, in a series of tweets slammed the proposed policy and its attempt to marginalize transgender people as “another example of brutal colonialism.”
“We must not give up the fight,” she tweeted. “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.”
“Trans people have been under attack by this administration from day 1 and in state legislatures for years now,” Cox said. “Let’s join together American and assert #TransRightsAreHumanRights.”
The “Orange Is The New Black” actress specifically urged Massachusetts citizens to vote “yes” on Nov. 6 on a referendum that would keep on the books the state’s anti-discrimination legislation protecting transgender people.
The potential administration policy, as outlined in a leaked memo obtained by the Times, is the latest effort in the Trump presidency aimed at restricting transgender rights. Shortly after taking office last year, he began an effort to bar transgender people from serving in the armed forces ― a proposal military leaders have opposed.
The revised policy on defining gender is being pushed by officials at the Health and Human Services Department, according to the Times.
An estimated 1.4 million Americans have opted to identify themselves as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth, according to the Times. If enacted, this new definition would erase their federal recognition.
Cox encouraged her followers to support the transgender community by attending rallies in New York Sunday night and Washington on Monday afternoon that were quickly organized to oppose the proposed administration policy. The gatherings are co-sponsored by several major LGBTQ rights organizations, including the National Center for Transgender Equality and GLAAD.
“This erasure of trans people would be the most drastic move yet by the current administration to roll back the rights of trans and gender nonconforming people, subjecting them to discrimination, harassment, and violence,” according to the event’s Facebook page.