SAN FRANCISCO — On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said he was worried about “big, hairy men” trying to get into women’s shelters during a meeting with agency staff.
The newspaper reported that he’d also said ” that society no longer seemed to know the difference between men and women.” He was visiting department offices in San Francisco.
The Post said that the comments had shocked and upset staff with at least one person walking out of the meeting.
From the Washington Post:
Carson has a history of making dismissive comments about transgender people. While running for president, he referred to transgender people as “abnormal” and said they should not be in the military. As HUD Secretary, he weakened Obama-era protections for transgender people, saying he believes in equal rights, not “special rights.”
In May, the agency introduced a proposal that would allow federally funded shelters to deny people admission on religious grounds or force transgender women to share bathrooms and sleeping quarters with men.
Carson has addressed the proposed change using different terms in public, most notably during Congressional hearings, when he has said his responsibility is to “make sure everybody is treated fairly. ”
But he has repeatedly mocked transgender people in internal meetings in Washington, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations in which the person was involved.
When the Post asked for comment, a HUD official denied that Carson used “derogatory language to refer to transgendered individuals. Any reporting to the contrary is false.”