Proposed Change in Definition of Gender Threatens Transgender Community Proposed Change in Definition of Gender Threatens Transgender Community
October 24, 2019

The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a substantial change in the definition of gender, limiting gender to sex assigned at birth. The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) is concerned about the potential impact of this change on over one million transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people in the US. This change could threaten TGNC rights in education, health care, prisons, homeless shelters, and other settings. If this change is fully implemented throughout the federal government, discrimination against transgender people is likely to increase. CAMFT strongly opposes this proposed change in the definition of gender.

“The coming out process for transgender individuals is hard enough as is. Broader definitions of gender and the accompanying rights are validating to the TGNC community. This proposed change may bring significant stress and exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression among transgender individuals,” said CAMFT Executive Director Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, CAE.

CAMFT President Jan Mellinger, LMFT, reaffirmed that being transgender and gender nonconforming are positive and healthy variations of gender identity and gender expression. “Our Code of Ethics prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) celebrate the breadth of gender identity and expression in our communities and are respectful of our transgender patients in our offices.”

As an association of 32,000 MFTs throughout the state of California, CAMFT recognizes the significant harm in limiting gender to sex assigned at birth, and strongly opposes any changes to current federal interpretations of gender.

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Bennett Portnoy, MA, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Bennett Portnoy, MA

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 
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I have helped hundreds of couples recognize the hidden obstacles that cause pain in their relationship and learn the skills needed to deepen the quality of their relationship as well as resolve conflict. For over twenty five years I have been working with heterosexual and gay couples. I do not believe in a one -size- fits- all approach to therapy.

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