The Biden administration on Thursday withdrew a rule proposed by the Trump administration that would have allowed single-sex homeless shelters to exclude transgender people from facilities that match their gender identities.
The rule was part of a broad government effort by the Trump administration to impose restrictions on the civil rights of transgender people, even after a Supreme Court ruling upholding protection for gay and transgender workers. President Biden had widely exercised the power of his office to freeze or reverse some of these restrictions almost immediately after taking office.
“We are taking a critical step in affirming HUD’s commitment not to deny anyone access to housing or other essential services because of their gender identity,” said Marcia L. Fudge, Housing Secretary , about the withdrawal of the rule in a press release. “HUD is open to everyone.”
The action represented a radical change in policy within the housing department, which said last year under the Trump administration that the rule would allow shelters to base admissions on “biological sex,” adding that the change in rule would take into account the “religious beliefs of shelter providers.” . “
Ben Carson, the former housing secretary, also expressed concern earlier, in 2019, about “big hairy men” accessing women’s shelters to abuse or attack women seeking protection.
“The current HUD rule allows any man, simply by stating that his gender is female, to access women’s shelters and even prevents the shelter from asking for ID,” Carson said in a letter. to Democratic lawmakers last year.
The proposed rule change has been criticized by civil rights groups – including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign – who have said the rule would mean transgender women, and potentially even other women. confused as transgender, could be referred to shelters which also welcome men. , where they could be subjected to ill-treatment or assault. Some women could lose access to shelters altogether, they added.
“By putting an end to this discriminatory proposal for good, the department is correcting a serious wrong,” said Dylan Waguespack, director of public policy for True Colors United, which works to prevent homelessness among LGBT youth. “Whether it’s homeless shelters, sports or healthcare, supporting the safety and dignity of all young people is a central tenet of our society, no matter who they are or who they love. “