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HUD looks to roll back on transgender protections at homeless shelters

A proposed rule could weaken Obama-era protections for the LGBTQ community

This week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a new rule that has the potential to leave thousands of transgender Americans without shelter, according to an article written by Tracy Jan for The Washington Post.

From the article:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday proposed a new rule that would weaken Obama-era protections for homeless transgender people, allowing federally funded shelters to deny people admission on religious grounds or force transgender women to share bathrooms and sleeping quarters with men.

The proposed rule comes one day after HUD Secretary Ben Carson assured members of Congress the agency had no plans to eliminate the 2012 Equal Access Rule, which barred federal housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

This proposal is one of the Trump Administration's most recent attempts to limit protections for transgender Americans, according to the article.

In 2017, the HUD website removed links to documents that guided emergency shelters on how best to serve transgender people facing homelessness and comply with agency regulations. It also withdrew policy proposals requiring HUD-funded emergency shelters to post notices informing people of LGTBQ rights and protections.

When questioned whether or not LGBTQ people should receive protections under fair housing laws, Secretary Carson reportedly said it was a congressional duty “to do something different” about the definition of gender.

According to the article, Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) has since challenged Carson’s stance.

“Yesterday, I asked Secretary Carson directly if he was anticipating any changes to HUD’s Equal Access Rule and he said no. 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," Wexton said in a statement.

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