HUD moves to allow discrimination against homeless transgender people. The proposal, included in the department’s spring rule list out Wednesday, contradicts a pledge that HUD Secretary Ben Carson made to lawmakers just yesterday.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is moving to roll back protections for homeless transgender people by enabling HUD-funded providers of shelters to consider a person’s sex or gender identification in determining whether they can be admitted.
The proposal, included in the department’s spring rule list out Wednesday, contradicts a pledge that HUD Secretary Ben Carson made to lawmakers just yesterday.
It would turn back requirements under an Obama-era rule that operators of single-sex shelters who receive HUD funding “provide equal access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with an individual`s gender identity.”
Carson told lawmakers on Tuesday that he was “not currently anticipating changing” the Equal Access Rule under questioning from Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.).
“Yesterday, I asked Secretary Carson directly if he was anticipating any changes to HUD’s Equal Access Rule, and he said no,” Wexton told POLITICO. “The announcement today that HUD will now allow anti-trans discrimination in shelters demonstrates that he either lied to Congress or has no idea what policies his agency is pursuing. Either way, it’s unacceptable.”
HUD said the proposal would give more leeway to shelter providers on the admission of people who “may misrepresent their sex.”
“Later this year, HUD will be proposing a change to the 2016 rule that will offer local homeless shelter providers greater flexibility when making decisions about individuals who may misrepresent their sex to access sex-specific shelters,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “HUD is, and will always be, committed to ensuring that every person accessing its programs can do so without discrimination.”
The proposal says shelter providers “may establish a policy, consistent with state and local law, by which such Shelter Provider considers an individual’s sex for the purposes of determining accommodation within such shelters and for purposes of determining sex for admission to any facility or portion thereof.”
Providers would be able to “consider a range of factors in making such determinations, including privacy, safety, practical concerns, religious beliefs, any relevant considerations under civil rights and nondiscrimination authorities, the individual’s sex as reflected in official government documents, as well as the gender which a person identifies with,” according to the proposal.
Photo: HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.