Ben Carson had told Congress that he is "not currently anticipating" any changes to the Equal Access Rule. This was an Obama-admin rule that demanded homeless shelters provide accommodation irrespective of gender identity.
Trump administration has once again come under fire after proposing a new rule that would allow federally-funded homeless shelters to deny services to transgender people, in what many people claim is another attack on the community. As reported by CNN.
This comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Secretary Ben Carson who told Congress that he is "not currently anticipating" changes to the Equal Access Rule. This was a rule that was brought on by former President Barack Obama who demanded homeless shelters provide accommodation irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
The administration announced plans to deny transgender people experiencing homelessness equal access to shelters. Some facts:— CenterActionNetwork (@LGBTActionLink) May 24, 2019
1 in 3 trans people have been homeless in their lives
70% of trans people who have used a shelter have experienced harassment
The Obama administration had approved two regulations in order to protect transgender people who are homeless and rely on HUD services. This also included a 2016 regulation called "Equal Access in Accordance With an Individual's Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs."
Following HUD's proposed change, now shelter providers can use “an individual’s sex for the purposes of determining accommodation within such shelters and for purposes of determining sex for admission to any facility.” It will also enable providers to create policies around admission based on sex, permitting discrimination in “single-sex or sex-segregated facilities,” including basic facilities like bathrooms and sleeping quarters.
“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,” an abstract of the draft regulation, as reported by Buzzfeed News.
Bernie Sanders took to Facebook to talk about how this kind of implementation should have no place in the government. He wrote: "Transgender people are more than 2.5 times more likely to be homeless than the general population. This move by the Trump administration is part of a bigotry that must come to an end immediately. We have got to stand with transgender people to reject this rule and fight for a more inclusive country. When we are in the White House this kind of discrimination will have no place in our government."
And not surprisingly, there has been severe criticism from people across the nation. And one among them is Republican Jennifer Wexton, who has now accused Carson of being ignorant of the policy objectives. "One day after (Carson) told me he isn't anticipating any changes to protections for LGBTQ people in shelters, HUD announced a proposal to gut that very rule," Wexton told CNN. "He either lied to Congress or has no idea what policies his agency is pursuing. Either way, it's unacceptable."
The Trump admin. is trying to weaken Obama-era protections for transgender people in homeless shelters, say advocates.— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 22, 2019
It proposed a new rule that would allow shelters to block transgender people from facilities that match their gender identity. pic.twitter.com/Sw8Wy05zjb
Following this, Wexton has now introduced a bill that could block the Trump admin from implementing the rule. She has also demanded the resignation of Carson, saying he has "proven himself to be deceitful and inept" and "unfit to serve" as secretary.
And that's not all. Even Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, called the new proposal a "heartless attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society."
Sec. Carson's proposed attack on transgender people is pure cruelty, but like all of the Trump Admin's attacks on transgender people it's important to remember federal law STILL protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in education, health care, employment, housing.— Sharita Gruberg (@Shugruberg) May 23, 2019
"The programs impacted by this rule are life-saving for transgender people, particularly youth rejected by their families, and a lack of stable housing fuels the violence and abuse that takes the lives of many transgender people of color across the country," Keisling said. "Secretary Carson's actions are contrary to the mission of his Department and yet another example of tragic cruelty of this administration."
Critics have been urging the Trump admin from not implementing this rule considering how it is a threat to the safety of transgender people, who already face high rates of discrimination in employment and housing. And this results in them needing shelters and other housing assistance.