Trump's Administration To Allow Discrimination In Shelters

Photo Credits: Gray Television Inc.

The protection of transgender people against discrimination — which was created during Obama's administration — is now under attack by Trump's administration.  Trump plans to allow shelters and other recipients of federal housing money to discriminate against transgender people by turning them away or placing them alongside others of their birth sex. The plan also denies them from sharing facilities with people of the same gender identity.

The rule would allow homeless shelters to choose from two options and both of them are going to undermine the rights of transgender people. Transgender applicants could be entirely rejected or a shelter could require trans women, for example, to share bathing and sleeping facilities with men. Under these circumstances, transgender people are going to be put at a higher risk for homelessness and abuse.

This change will take effect at single-sex or sex-segregated facilities, such as bathrooms, emergency shelters, and other accommodations. According to an abstract of the draft regulation, “The proposed rule permits Shelter Providers to consider a range of factors in making such determinations, including privacy, safety, practical concerns, religious beliefs, any relevant considerations under civil rights and nondiscrimination authorities, the individual’s sex as reflected in official government documents, as well as the gender which a person identifies with,” Buzzfeednews.com reports.

This is not the first time that Trump's administration is allowing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public and private settings. For example, Trump’s Justice Department states that transgender women in prison must be jailed in cells with men. They argued that religious shopkeepers can refuse service to same-sex couples, and they defend a ban on transgender troops in the military. On Tuesday, Trump released a "conscience" rule that would let health care providers recuse themselves from providing certain services to transgender patients.

Alongside all of these changes this latest proposal is another threat to transgender people who face high rates of discrimination in employment and housing and, as a result, need shelters and other housing assistance. Homeless transgender people are more likely to experience physical and sexual violence.
As Buzzfeednews.com reports, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, called the proposal an “attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The programs impacted by this rule are life-saving for transgender people, particularly youth rejected by their families, and a lack of stable housing fuels the violence and abuse that takes the lives of many transgender people of color.”

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