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Decatur protest over reported federal plan on transgender people scheduled

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DECATUR — A protest is planned Sunday in downtown Decatur over a report that the Trump administration is considering adoption of a new definition of gender.

The "Hell No to the Memo" protest is scheduled at noon at the East Wood Street entrance of the Macon County Courthouse. Protesters will later march from the courthouse to Central Park, where they will remain until 2 p.m. 

"Before anything, the two goals (of the protest) are education and exposure," said organizer August Francis. "It's about educating people about what (the transgender community's) struggles are and what this would do to our lives."

The New York Times this month reported that the Department of Health and Human Services was circulating a memo proposing that gender be defined as an immutable biological condition determined by a person's sex organs at birth. The proposal would define sex as either male or female, and any dispute about one's sex would have to be clarified through genetic testing, according to the Times' account of the memo. The move would effectively deny federal recognition and civil rights protections to transgender Americans.

According to an estimate by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there are about 1.4 million transgender adults in the United States.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Jaylyn Cook at (217) 421-7980. Follow him on Twitter: @jaylyn_HR

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