The Trump administration on Wednesday
announced plans for a rule change that would allow homeless shelters
to refuse to house transgender people.
Secretary of Housing & Urban
Development (HUD) Ben Carson announced the plan in a statement.
The proposal would allow homeless
shelters to establish their own admission policies on transgender
“This important update will empower
shelter providers to set policies that align with their missions,
like safeguarding victims of domestic violence or human trafficking,”
Carson said. “Mission-focused shelter operators play a vital and
compassionate role in communities across America. The Federal
Government should empower them, not mandate a single approach that
overrides local law and concerns. HUD also wants to encourage their
participation in HUD programs. That’s exactly what we are doing
with this rule change.”
The Obama administration had previously
interpreted a 2012 Equal Access Rule barring LGBT discrimination in
government-subsidized shelters to include gender identity.
The Trump administration rule would
allow a female homeless shelter to “decline to accommodate a person
who identifies as female but who is a biological male.” There is
“anecdotal evidence” that cisgender women may fear being housed
with transgender women, the agency said in its report.
The proposal comes two weeks after the
Supreme Court in Bostock determined that the term sex under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes sexual orientation
and gender identity. While the case revolved around employment, the
high court's ruling should extend to all federal programs that ban
discrimination based on sex, such as the Fair Housing Act.
National Center for Transgender
Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said in a statement that
the proposal “flies in the face of the Bostock Supreme Court
ruling” and would “not stand.”