Trump administration rule would allow homeless shelters to deny trans people

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About 12% of transgender Americans have experienced homelessness in the last year. PLotulitStocker/Shutterstock.com

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a rule that would allow homeless shelters that get federal money to deny entry to transgender people.

According to NBC OUT, the proposal would reverse a 2016 measure implemented under the Obama administration that built on provisions enacted four years earlier. The 2012 Equal Access Rule mandated that shelters are “open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status,” and the administration issued further guidance clarifying that the rule barred shelters from denying access to trans people in accordance with their gender identity.

The new rule would essentially strip those protections. The news website said that the rule attempts to avoid discrimination claims that that single-sex shelters can’t cannot refuse to “accommodate a person who identifies as male but who is a biological female.”

“Today, HUD announced its plan to invite shelters to discriminate against transgender people using federal tax dollars,” said Sasha Buchert, a senior attorney at Lambda Legal. “The actions of this administration are as cruel as they are lawless. Transgender people suffer disproportionately high rates of homelessness, and are subjected to similarly high rates of abuse, harassment and violence, especially transgender women of color.”

In a April 2020 study, the Williams Institute found that between 20% and 45% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, at least 2 to 4
times more than the estimated percentage of all youth who identify as LGBTQ. Among young adults aged 18-25, LGBTQ people have a 2.2 times greater risk of homelessness than non-LGBTQ people.

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