On Wednesday, May 22, the Trump administration announced a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposal that could severely impact the lives of transgender citizens. Under the new proposal, homeless shelters could deny trans people and turn them away at the door. One step forward, five steps back.
The Trump administration introduced the HUD proposal on May 22, which would allow shelters and other federally funded housing to turn away transgender individuals away and deny them entry. In addition, if these shelters did allow trans people to stay, placing them in a room with an individual who shares their gender identity would not be a top priority. Elite Daily reached out to the White House and HUD for comment on the new proposal, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
The full text of the HUD's proposal isn't available to the public yet, but on May 22, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a summary of the plan. A part of the summary reads,
The proposed rule permits Shelter Providers to consider a range of factors in making such determinations, including privacy, safety, practical concerns, religious beliefs, any relevant considerations under civil rights and nondiscrimination authorities, the individual’s sex as reflected in official government documents, as well as the gender which a person identifies with. The proposed rule does not dictate a required basis for making determinations other than that they be consistent with an overall policy. The proposed rule continues HUD’s policy of ensuring that its programs are open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Even if the proposal summary claims that admittance to homeless shelters will be eligible to all people, it contradicts itself quite a bit by allowing considerations of gender identity and an individual's sex.
This proposal would roll back on protections offered by the 2016 Equal Access Rule, which ensured individuals equal access to housing in accordance with their gender identity.
Since the Trump administration and HUD unveiled this new proposal, human rights activists pointed to how this could severely impact the safety of transgender individuals, who are disproportionately likely to experience homelessness. According to the National Center of Transgender Equality (NCTE), one in five transgender in the United States have experienced homelessness at some point in their lifetime. In addition, NCTE notes that LGBTQ+ people make up 20% to 40% of the more than 1.6 million homeless youth within the country, despite the fact that only about 4.5% of the general population identifies as LGBTQ+, per annual polling from UCLA Law's Williams Institute.
On May 22, NCTE issued a statement in response to the Trump administration and HUD's housing proposal, and laid out some statistics that speak to how this decision could impact the lives of transgender people. According to their statement, those who experience homelessness are more likely to face physical and sexual violence. “This is a heartless attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society," Mara Keisling, NCTE's executive director, said in the statement.
This is yet another move by the Trump administration that sets back LGBTQ+ rights. On April 12, the administration's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military took effect. And in May 2018, the administration also pushed for rollbacks on rules that protect transgender inmates, such as allowing them to use cell blocks and restrooms that match their gender identity. The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on the change.
The fight for human rights is far from over. Want to know more on the issue? Read up, and learn more.