A new rule from the Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking to allow federally-funded homeless shelters to decide a person’s sex based on a “good faith belief.” The rule states that employees of homeless shelters are not allowed to turn someone away for being transgender, but are allowed to decide whether they go in a men’s or women’s shelter.
Making the measure even crueler, is the process by which how an employee can decide. The rule says that someone’s sex can be determined by their physical characteristics, such as height, the presence of facial hair, or having an adam’s apple.
If pressed, an employee is then allowed to ask for “proof of sex” which would be someone’s sex-at-birth or their sex as documented on government papers.
The problem with this (aside from the egregious harassment of trans people) is that the homeless population is likely to not carry government papers or have up-to-date information in governmental computer systems. Therefore, their sex can be completely determined by shelter employees. The ruling could even force a masculine ciswoman to end up in a men’s shelter.
Democratic congresswoman Jennifer Wexton of Virginia and Maxine Waters of California have written a letter to Ben Carson protesting the new ruling, calling it discriminatory. However, HUD is unlikely to pay attention. The Trump administration has been extremely transphobic and shows no signs of changing.
If you’d like to help change America’s discriminatory housing policy, visit Housing Justice For All to find out ways you can get involved. You can also contact HUD to make your voice heard about their policies and to demand change.