Wexton Statement on Publishing of HUD Rule Targeting Trans Americans
Washington, July 23, 2020
Washington, DC -- In response to the imminent publishing of a new Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule change targeting transgender people seeking access to emergency and temporary shelter, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) issued the following statement:
"This vehemently anti-trans proposal is a total departure from the mission of HUD and it will put lives at risk at a time when access to safe housing is absolutely vital. For more than a year now, Secretary Carson has cited no real evidence nor provided any credible justification for this rule change -- this policy is nothing more than a license to discriminate against transgender Americans.
"To suggest that there could be a set of physical characteristics for shelter staff to determine whether someone should be housed with men or women is abhorrent. It’s crucial that all Americans participate in public comment and speak out on why this policy is contrary to our values and a danger to the trans community."
The proposed rule is scheduled to be published on July 24, 2020. This will initiate a public comment period that will last for 60 days. The proposed rule has already come under fire for instructing federally funded shelters to judge a person’s physical characteristics in determining whether they should be housed with men or women.
Following the advancement of the rule in June, Wexton and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) sent a letter calling on HUD to reconsider publishing the rule, citing the recent Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County which held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects against discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. In July, Carson responded to Wexton, indicating that HUD will not respect the Court’s decision, claiming that it has “no impact” on the proposed rule.
In May of 2019, HUD announced its intention to gut protections for transgender individuals seeking access to emergency shelter—this announcement came the day after Secretary Carson assured Congresswoman Wexton that he did not anticipate any changes to the Equal Access Rule while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.
Following Secretary Carson’s false testimony, Congresswoman Wexton called on the Secretary to resign from his Cabinet position, and introduced a bill to block HUD’s efforts to gut the Equal Access Rule and guarantee legal protections for transgender individuals seeking shelter.
The full text of Wexton’s bill can be found here.