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HUD Announces Proposed Anti-Transgender Rule

HUD announced on July 1 that it will be releasing its proposed anti-transgender changes to the Equal Access Rule on July 1. This proposed rule change would weaken protections for transgender individuals experiencing homelessness and seeking emergency shelter by allowing shelter providers not to provide admission or access to services that are consistent with an individual’s gender identity.

NLIHC, True Colors United, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Housing Law Project, and other national organizations have launched the Housing Saving Lives campaign to oppose HUD’s anti-transgender rule. Together, we are calling for individuals and organizations to submit public comments in opposition to HUD’s proposed rule during the 60-day comment period. Template letters and other resources will be made available on the HousingSavesLives.org website in the coming weeks.

In a joint press statement, NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel said, “While our country is focused on racial injustices and navigating through the untold harm of a pandemic, Secretary Carson is advancing more of this administration’s hateful anti-trans policy. Secretary Carson's proposal is abhorrent and unconscionable. Transgender people, especially trans women and trans people of color, are at extraordinarily high risk of violence. Access to shelter during and after COVID-19 is a public health necessity and, for trans people experiencing homelessness, often a matter of life or death. NLIHC will work with partners across the country and in Congress to kill this cruel proposal.”

Because there is no guarantee that individuals will be able to access services and shelter elsewhere, the proposed rule would fail to ensure protections for transgender people. The justifications for the rule are rooted in falsehoods and dangerous stereotypes. The proposed rule’s harmful effects extend not only to the LGBTQ+ community, but also to cisgender people who may not represent what a shelter provider might consider to be typical and indicative of a person’s biological sex.

Expected Features of the Harmful Proposed Changes:

  • Allowing shelter providers to place and accommodate individuals on the basis of their biological sex, without regard to their gender identity.
  • Allowing shelter providers to consider a range of factors when deciding whether to admit or accommodate someone, including religious beliefs, and an individual’s sex as reflected in official government documents, as well as the gender to which a person identifies.
  • Allowing shelter providers to use physical characteristics as “reasonable considerations” in their determination of a person’s biological sex. This may include a combination of factors such as height, presence (but not the absence) of facial hair, the presence of an Adam’s apple, and other physical characteristics which HUD claims “when considered together, are indicative of a person’s biological sex.”

NLIHC urges advocates to oppose this rule by going to www.housingsaveslives.org 

Read HUD’s press statement announcing the rule: https://bit.ly/2YULGP3

(At the time this Memo to Members and Partners was written, the proposed rule had not yet been published.)

Read the joint press statement from NLIHC and other Housing Saves Lives partners here: https://bit.ly/2CWWWBS

Participate and stay engaged with the comment campaign and additional resources here: https://housingsaveslives.org/