US LGBTIQ advocates have slammed a Trump administration proposal that would allow transgender people to be turned away from homeless shelters.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wants to roll back an Obama-era rule ensuring trans people are housed in line with their gender identity.
The new proposal, contained in a memo leaked to Vox, permits staff at federally-funded homeless shelters to use a person’s physical characteristics to determine whether they’re transgender.
Staff could use “factors such as height, the presence (but not the absence) of facial hair, the presence of an Adam’s apple, and other physical characteristics” to single them out.
Staff could then demand proof of that person’s sex before housing them in the single-sex facility. The rule stops short of permitting “unduly intrusive” physical examinations.
But advocates say forcing trans women into emergency housing with men puts them at risk of physical and sexual assault.
As a result, many will simply choose to sleep rough instead of risk discrimination at a shelter.
HUD has previously explained the changes will “better accommodate religious beliefs of shelter providers”.
Department Secretary Ben Carson said the rule will “empower shelters to set policies that align with their missions.”
“The Federal Government should empower them, not mandate a single approach that overrides local law and concerns,” he said.
Research shows transgender people face extremely high rates of homelessness. Sadly, they also suffer widespread discrimination when seeking support services.
Trump administration proposal ‘yet another attack’ on transgender community
The National Center for Transgender Equality blasted the new regulations as dangerous.
“This proposal is yet another attack from the Trump administration at the safety of the most vulnerable members of our community,” executive director Mara Keisling said.
“One in three transgender Americans has [experienced] homeless at some point in their lives. This proposal would have them sleep on the street rather than get help.
“The difference between being sheltered and unsheltered is especially dangerous for transgender homeless persons, particularly transgender persons of color.
“[They] face harassment and threats from private individuals, as well as elevated rates of policing and violence within police custody.
“Getting transgender persons off the street and out of harm’s way is a matter of life and death.”
President Donald Trump, who’s up for re-election in November, has an appalling LGBTIQ rights record while in office.
His administration has attacked and undermined the LGBTIQ community in healthcare, employment, retail, education, the military, and other areas.
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