Press Release

National Nurses United RNs condemn Trump administration rollback of critical health care protections for transgender patients

Patient Advocate sign

The 155,000 registered nurse members of National Nurses United today condemned the Trump administration’s change of a rule that rolls back protections for our transgender patients against discrimination by health care providers, hospitals, and health insurance companies. 

The rule, finalized June 12 by the Health and Human Services Administration, narrows the legal definition of sex discrimination so that an Affordable Care Act provision prohibiting such discrimination does not apply to gender identity.

Nurses are worried that more of their transgender patients won’t receive the gender-affirming care that they need and deserve. 

“This rule runs directly counter to nurses’ values. Nurses take an oath to serve and take the best care of all our patients, regardless of who you are,” said Zenei Cortez, RN and a president of National Nurses United. “Your sex, age, religion, ethnicity or race, personal background, and, yes, your gender identity, should never influence the quality or type of care you receive. If you have a body, if you have a mind and you need medical care, we’re here to help you.”  

On top of all the traditional barriers to health care that patients face in our money-driven health care system, transgender patients face additional significant challenges in obtaining medical care. Patients are often denied insurance coverage of hormone therapy, gender-affirming surgery, or other transition-related care, encounter transphobia among health care providers, are misgendered for the purpose of denying care, and so many simply avoid seeking medical care for these reasons and more.

“Transphobia in health care is a form of violence,” said Zoe Schmidt, an RN and nurse representative at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. who advocates for transgender equity in health care. “You are denying them lifesaving care that they need to be healthy and for their well-being. To deny them this care is to deny them their existence. That’s a form of violence.”

Trump released his rule on the anniversary of the Pulse LGBTQ nightclub shooting and during Pride Month, purposely signaling his disrespect toward and disregard of the LGBTQ community. The gay rights movement is widely acknowledged to have been sparked when the LGBT community, led by trans women of color, fought back against vicious police raids of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City.