America is set to roll back basic rights for trans people who are in federal prison, reverting to sending them to facilities according to their sex assigned at birth.

The changes to policy are undoing Obama-era regulations that sought to protect trans prisoners under the Prison Rape Elimination Act, The New York Times has reported.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ revised Transgender Offender Manual has removed a guideline to house prisoners “by gender identity”, replacing it with instructions to use “biological sex” in determining whether prisoners are housed in male or female facilities.

The manual now says that “designation to a facility of the inmate’s identified gender would be appropriate only in rare cases”.

The changes come after four evangelical Christian women in a Texas prison sued, claiming that being housed with a trans woman constituted a threat to their safety.

“This administration seems to be using every opportunity to roll back progress for LGBTQ and transgender people [sic], even against the grain of where the American public is, and is headed, on these issues,” said Vanita Gupta, chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division under President Obama.

The Trump administration has come under fire for other attacks on the trans community, including attempts to ban trans people from the military, and the Department of Education’s recent announcement that it will no longer hear complaints from trans students who have been banned from using the correct bathroom at school.

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