Opposing the New HUD Rule by Outing Ben Carson

Today African Human Rights Coalition submitted its public opposition to this new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rule as follows :

Making Admission or Placement Determinations Based on Sex in Facilities Under Community Planning and Development Housing Programs

A Proposed Rule by the Housing and Urban Development Department on 07/24/2020: This HUD  proposed new rule seeks to empower federally-funded emergency single-sex homeless shelters to turn away people seeking emergency housing based on whether shelter staff thinks the person appears sufficiently “masculine” or “feminine” to be housed in that facility. This unconscionable actions occurred as the administration worked to cut funding to HUD’s housing assistance programs.

No one should be denied access to a homeless shelter because of who they are: On Friday, July 23, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a new rule that would gut protections for transgender people seeking safe shelter. This rule would strip away current protections that prohibit federally-funded homeless shelters from discriminating against transgender people. The new rule permits shelters to discriminate, which will result in needless suffering and death.

The Trump administration has relentlessly attacked LGBTQ people and people living with HIV and continue to influence hateful anti-LGBTQ discrimination and systemic marginalization. Other than to target and discriminate against vulnerable people, none of this is necessary.

To place in in context:

The role of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) should be to include the protection of homeless LGBTQI people by ensuring equal access to shelters and safeguarding access to fair and equitable housing free from anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Trump chose a profoundly vocal homophobe and transphobe to direct the Department, in Ben Carson. Ben Carson has done anything but protect the most vulnerable and has consciously worked to undermine existing protections for LGBTQ people. Carson has a history of making comments that range from comparing marriage equality with bestiality, to suggesting that transgender people be required to use separate bathrooms. In 2019, Ben Carson made horrible anti-transgender remarks in a closed agency meeting in San Francisco. His comments were so shocking that one agency member walked out.

This new rule cannot be allowed based on the motive for it and obvious consequences:  Viewed in light of Carson’s malicious intent to exclude LGBTQI people from protections, this will exclude homeless LGBTQI individuals, leaving them out on the street without shelter. Given the high incidence of murder of trans women, especially of color, this failed shelter can and will have deathly consequences.

African Human Rights Coalition opposes this unconscionable and discriminatory rule. Working with LGBTQI asylum seekers, we often find many homeless especially due to the hardship of rules that prevent asylum seekers from obtaining immediate work permits. The hardship of this new Rule is exacerbated by other Trump admin new Rules, which add additional time to the already onerous time period within which to obtain work permits. Now further robbed of shelter, this Rule adds to the difficulties, making it almost impossible for any transgender or LGBTQI asylum seeker to survive whilst seeking refuge in the United States.

By Melanie Nathan
Law, Human Rights Advocacy and Mediation
African Human Rights Coalition
Executive Director
pronouns: she / her / hers

One thought on “Opposing the New HUD Rule by Outing Ben Carson

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