HUD published in the Federal Register on April 27 a withdrawal of its proposed rule “Making Admissions or Placement Determinations Based on Sex in Facilities Under Community Planning and Development Housing Programs; Withdrawal; Regulatory Review.” The step will remove the previous administration’s harmful anti-transgender proposal from HUD’s upcoming Spring 2021 Unified Agenda and Deregulatory Actions. The decision was first announced last week, as HUD reaffirmed its commitment to equal access to housing, shelters, and other services, regardless of gender identity (see Memo, 04/26).
HUD had announced in 2019 plans to gut protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming people experiencing homelessness by removing a crucial provision in the Equal Access Rule of 2016 (see Memo 05/28/2019). This announcement came a day after former HUD Secretary Ben Carson had testified before the House Financial Services Committee that no such changes would be made to the Equal Access Rule—suggesting that either he lied to Congress or that he was uninformed about what was going on in his agency. Nonetheless, the rule was consistent with the previous administration’s anti-transgender rhetoric.
HUD the published in July 2020 its proposed anti-transgender changes to the Equal Access Rule, “Making Admission or Placement Determinations Based on Sex in Facilities Under Community Planning and Development Housing Programs” (see Memo¸07/27/2020). The proposal relied on harmful stereotypes about transgender people (particularly transgender women) and failed to provide evidence that HUD’s nondiscrimination policy created widespread privacy or safety concerns. HUD also relied on individual anecdotes without providing data to demonstrate a larger issue, cynically invoking survivors of domestic and sexual violence to attempt to lend credibility to its discriminatory proposal. Despite admitting that data were lacking, HUD based its justifications at that time on anecdotal evidence and dangerous stereotypes, undocumented “religious freedom” assertions, and unfounded regulatory burdens on shelters.
In response to the proposed rule, the Housing Saves Lives Campaign was launched, calling on individuals, organizations, Members of Congress, and public officials to submit public comments against the proposal during a 60-day comment period. NLIHC and Housing Saves Lives organizations hosted a successful Week of Action to support individuals and organizations as they drafted their comments. Over 66,000 public comments were submitted, one of the largest public comment campaigns ever in response to a HUD regulation.
The April 27 withdrawal of this harmful proposed rule was a win for fair housing advocates and exemplifies the current administration’s commitment to combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Read HUD’s rule “Making Admission or Placement Determinations Based on Sex in Facilities Under Community Planning and Development Housing Programs; Withdrawal; Regulatory Review” at: https://bit.ly/3vuXaGi
Read HUD’s press release at: https://bit.ly/3sKron5