At the CNN town hall on LGBT equality, former secretary of the Department of Urban Development and now presidential candidate Julián Castro called on HUD Secretary Ben Carson to resign due to his comments on transgender people.
Castro called Carson’s remarks shameful, and said the HUD secretary should be prepared to serve everyone.
“The comments that Secretary Carson, my successor, made a couple weeks ago are shameful,” Castro said. “When you’re housing secretary, you’re there to serve everybody. And his comments made clear that he’s not there to serve everybody. I believe that he should resign because of that. Because he can’t serve everybody.”
The comment was made in reference to Carson’s remarks on transgender people sleeping in women’s shelters. In a closed-door meeting in September Carson made controversial remarks that angered many transgender people and LGBTQ rights activists.
Carson reportedly made reference to women’s shelters accepting “big, hairy men” without questioning their gender. He stressed that society no longer knows the difference between men and women, and said no one group deserved special rights.
Defending his comments later, Carson explained that HUD’s mission is to serve all people. He said it will serve transgender people, but not at the expense of someone else’ safety – in this case, the safety of women at the shelters.
After the remarks were made, many Democrats began calling for Carson to resign. Many of the 50 HUD staffers who attended the meeting in San Francisco were upset, and three people who attended the meeting said at least one woman walked out in protest of his comments, according to The Washington Post.
“I’m very proud that during the 2.5 years that I was housing secretary that me and the people that worked at HUD, we had a role in expanding those protections,” Castro said at the town hall. “It is a shame what this administration has done to role them back.”
And Castro ended his response with a promise of what can be expected if he is elected to the presidency.
“As president, I would make sure that we appoint people, including members of the LGBT community, to the cabinet, the White House staff and other positions in the administration who are going to ensure that we expand equal opportunity,” Castro promised. “But we absolutely will strengthen protections in housing, in employment, in healthcare, in every other context for members of the LGBTQ community.”