Morning Buzz | “Transgender” Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under the Trump Administration

“Transgender” Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under the Trump Administration
“The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law,” The New York Times reports. This comes after a series of decisions made by the Obama administration that relaxed the concept of gender in health and education programs by recognizing sex largely as an individual’s choice. According to a memo obtained by the newspaper, the Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the civil rights law that forbids education programs that receive federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of gender, that is “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” This would define gender as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by a person’s sex at birth. According to a 2017 PRRI poll, more than one in five (21 percent) Americans report having a close friend or family member who is transgender, nearly double (11 percent) the number who reported having such a connection in 2011. The increase in social contact with the transgender community has largely been driven by younger Americans. Younger Americans (age 18 to 34) are 10 percentage points more likely to report having a transgender family member or close friend today compared to 2011 (28 percent vs. 18 percent).
Young Catholics Discuss Faith Following Sex Abuse Scandals
As reported in The Washington Post this week, some young Catholics have an increasingly complicated relationship with their faith and the institution of the church. Catholic college students are driving discussions about how the church needs to change. This follows a series of recent, high-profile scandals, including a Pennsylvania grand jury report that implicated more than 300 priests in the sexual abuse of nearly 1,000 children and the resignation of former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick amid allegations of abuse. PRRI data from 2016 was referenced in The Washington Post’s article. Per PRRI survey, Catholicism has seen the largest decline in participation among major religious groups. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of Americans report being raised in a Catholic household, but only about one in five (21 percent) Americans identify as Catholic currently. Among young adults (age 18-29), 15 percent report currently being Catholic, while 39 percent are religiously unaffiliated.
Tech and Social Media Companies Rally Millennial Voting Bloc
Snapchat, Tinder, Lyft, Uber, and Bumble are ramping up initiatives to get millennials aware of political issues, registered to vote, and headed to the polls. As reported in USA Today, Snapchat users can register to vote through the app, and Lyft and Uber are offering free or discounted rides to the polls in November. Sarah Jones Simmer, chief operating officer of the dating and friendship app Bumble, has argued that companies with a largely young audience have an “obligation” to work to increase the number of young people who vote. Findings from a PRRI report released this month were referenced in USA Today’s article. According to PRRI data, only 35 percent of young voters (age 18-29) say that they are “absolutely certain” to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. However, according to PRRI Associate Director of Research, Robert Griffin, PhD, tech companies’ voting initiatives could be almost as successful as a celebrity or family endorsement. “It’s not crazy to think these things would increase people’s participation levels,” he said, adding that personal connections are “still more influential.”
Growing Caravan of Migrants Grows Ahead of Push Into Mexico
A caravan of thousands of Central American migrants aiming to reach the U.S. arrived in a southern Mexico town as President Trump publicly condemned their governments and criticized his political rivals, according to The Associated Press. “Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws,” Trump tweeted. The president also suggested that “Middle Easterners are mixed in,” although AP journalists traveling with the caravan say they haven’t met any migrants who fit this description. The caravan, which started a week ago with less than 200 people, now has about 5,000 participants and is still continuing to grow. Ana Luisa España, a clothes washer from Guatemala traveling with the caravan, told the AP, “The goal is to reach the (U.S.) border. We only want to work and if a job turns up in Mexico, I would do it. We would do anything, except bad things.” PRRI data shows that majorities of Republicans (54 percent), independents (75 percent), and