Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, praised a proposed new rule change from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requiring all programs that receive funding from the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) to give equal access to transgender people.
“Transgender people face rampant discrimination and harassment across the country – a tragic reality that forces many into positions of vulnerability no one should have to face,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “Fundamentally, this new rule change will help ensure people have access to appropriate facilities and the help they need when they need it the most, regardless of their gender identity. We’re grateful for the Obama Administration and Secretary Julián Castro’s leadership on this vitally important issue.”
The proposed rule change revises and expands the February 2012 regulation called “Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity,” also known as the Equal Access Rule – which prohibited discrimination in HUD programs on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The 2012 Equal Access Rule failed to specifically address access to safe emergency shelters and temporary housing consistent with an individual’s gender identity.
This newly proposed rule change formalises guidance published by HUD in February of this year ensuring placement in housing that is consistent with an individual’s gender identity. Today’s proposed rule also revises the definition of gender identity used in the Equal Access Rule, clarifying “Gender identity means the gender with which a person identifies, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth. Perceived gender identity means the gender with which a person is perceived to identify based on that person’s appearance, behaviour, expression, other gender related characteristics, or sex assigned to the individual at birth.”
HRC has consistently raised this important issue with the Department, and has called on HUD and the Department of Justice to adopt discrimination protections in emergency housing. The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposal.
The full proposed rule change can be found here.