On Wednesday, the Department of Urban Housing and Development proposed a modification that would allow homeless shelters to deny transgender people access to single-sex shelters of their gender identity.
This modification to the 2016 portion of the Equal Access rule “requires all HUD-funded housing services to be provided without discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” a statement from HUD said.
“The new rule allows shelter providers that lawfully operate as single-sex or sex-segregated facilities to voluntarily establish a policy that will govern admissions determinations for situations when an individual’s gender identity does not match their biological sex,” the statement continued.
The statement also says that this change to the rule better accommodates the religious beliefs of shelter providers.
According to the New York Times, “the Trump administration has been pushing the change, arguing that it would prevent men from surreptitiously gaining access to women’s homeless shelters to abuse residents or track down spouses and partners.”
In an email, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities Executive Director Sunia Zaterman said the CLPHA opposes the modification, adding it puts a broad span of homeless people in danger.
“The Administration’s reasoning follows the long-discarded excuse used to deny civil rights to African Americans by claiming the federal government should not mandate a single approach that overrides local concerns,” Zaterman said. “It was blatant discrimination then, and it is blatant discrimination now.”
“The significant impact of the Administration’s pernicious, discriminatory proposal aimed against transgender individuals, one of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in America, cannot be overstated,” Zaterman continued. “One in three transgender Americans has been homeless at some point in their lives. Shelter is the most basic of human needs. To deny it at the most vulnerable moment in the life of a transgender individual denies trans people their human dignity.”