HUD Equal Rule Rollbacks

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Transphobia in the White House is only getting worse. Remember earlier this summer when the Trump administration repealed Section 1557 of the Affordable Health Care Act? The progressive Obama era definition of gender identity, “male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female,” only continues to disappear in official policy. 

Already at a greater risk for homelessness than their cisgender counterparts, 1 in 5 transgender people experience homelessness at some point in their lives.

The latest proposed Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule reverses the Equal Access rule from 2016. This required homeless shelters to house trans people based on their self-assigned gender identity. HUD now proposes that shelters may decide whether they want their housing policy to be based on “legal sex” or gender identity. Apparently this new rule better serves shelters’ religious beliefs.

HUD will allow shelters to judge “factors such as height, the presence (but not the absence) of facial hair, the presence of an Adam’s apple, and other physical characteristics which, when considered together, are indicative of a person’s biological sex.” 

Well, that completely reinforces an outdated binary. Again. 

Single-sex shelters “may determine an individual’s sex based on a good faith belief that an individual seeking access to the temporary, emergency shelters is not of the sex, as defined in the single-sex facility’s policy, which the facility accommodates.” 

Basically if someone seems “too transgender,” they’re at risk of being discriminated against.

Shelters can then require proof of biological sex: “Evidence requested must not be unduly intrusive of privacy, such as private physical anatomical evidence. Evidence requested could include government identification, but lack of government identification alone cannot be the sole basis for denying admittance on the basis of sex.” 

So, a lack of proof and a prejudiced suspicion is enough to deny admittance? 

No different than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the HUD just another spineless institution made to appease whoever’s in office rather than the people of the United States?

  • Can the HUD think for itself?

    • Yes
    • No


Written by Nina Slowinski

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