As the Trump administration prepares yet another attack on the rights of transgender people, 33 members of the Senate condemned a plan by the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs to let shelters turn away trans people experiencing homelessness.
One in three transgender people have experienced homelessness in their lifetime, and one in eight experienced it in the last year. A lack of access to stable housing and safe shelter fuels the violence faced by transgender women of color in particular, and raises the risks transgender people face for harassment, abuse and illness.
Despite this, HUD Secretary Ben Carson has erased mentions of transgender rights from HUD’s websites, resources for shelters working with trans people. Just last month, he demeaned trans women as “big hairy men” attempting to infiltrate women’s shelters—making clear the prejudice behind his policies.
The Senators write:
“We are deeply concerned that your comments undercut protections provided to transgender people under HUD’s rules, undermine basic respect for transgender individuals seeking housing assistance, and create an environment that further marginalizes this vulnerable population...If you are truly committed to recognizing the value of the people you are charged to serve as HUD Secretary, you must publicly retract your statements about the rights of transgender individuals, support their basic rights to seek shelter consistent with their identity, and take no actions that undermine these rights.”
Our elected officials aren’t stopping there—Rep. Jennifer Wexton in the House has proposed a bill to prevent HUD from attacking trans rights. Our own Harper Jean Tobin was in front of the House Financial Services Commitee at yesterday to talk about HUD, the Trump administration, and the many ways LGBTQ people are denied equal and fair access to housing.
Watch some highlights here and call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121 to make sure they support the right to shelter for everyone who needs it!