LGBT activists rallied Monday in front of the White House following a report over the weekend that the Trump administration is considering creating a strictly binary definition of gender that could deny federal recognition and civil rights protections to transgender Americans.
"The Trump administration thinks that there aren't very many transgender people," Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality told the gathered crowd. "They think that we're weak. They think that we don't have any friends. And we're here to show them today we are here, we are strong, we are resolute. And boy, do we have some pretty good friends."
The protest was part of a swift backlash to a New York Times story that the Department of Health and Human Services has been contemplating defining gender as a biological condition determined immutably by genitalia at birth under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs.
Protests took place in New York and Washington, trending nationally on Twitter under the hashtag #WontBeErased.
The Times said the proposed definition could submitted to the Justice Department by the end of the year. Other agencies would have to adhere to the same definition. Critics fear the new definition would mean an end to all federal protection of transgender people.
WATCH: Transgender equality protest
The HHS released a statement that neither confirmed nor denied the accuracy of the Times story, instead saying it did not comment on "alleged leaked documents."
The agency admitted it was reviewing its definition of sex, stating it was bound to do so following a Texas-based federal judge's finding in 2016 that the Obama administration's definition of sex was "overbroad."
LGBT activists, who have promised legal challenges if the reported definition becomes law, say several other courts had issued rulings contrary to the one in 2016.