LGBTQ Advocate: LGBTQ Housing Discrimination Complaints Filed at a Similar Rate as ‘People of Color’

By Melanie Arter | April 2, 2019 | 3:26pm EDT
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

( – An LGBTQ advocate, in her written testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, complained Tuesday that the LGBTQ community faces housing discrimination on par with “people of color.”

Kierra Johnson, deputy executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, wrote: “In states that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in housing, discrimination complaints are filed by LGBTQ people at a rate similar to race discrimination complaints filed by people of color.”

Johnson called discrimination against LGBTQ people in housing "a consistent and ubiquitous issue.” 

She noted that 40 percent of young people who are homeless identify as LGBTQ and “people living at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities, like LGBTQ people of color and LGBTQ people with disabilities, are even more likely to face discrimination in access to housing, and to have an increased need to access public housing supports.”


Furthermore, she stated that “49% of Black transgender and gender non-binary respondents to a recent survey experienced housing discrimination in the preceding year” and that “13% of Black transgender women were denied access to a homeless shelter.”

“Forty-two percent of transgender shelter-seekers report having been forced to live as the wrong gender as a condition of access to a shelter,” Johnson stated. “Overall, nearly half of transgender shelter-seekers said they ultimately left a shelter due to mistreatment.”

She cited a recent study by the Center for American Progress and the Equal Rights Center, which found that “30 percent of shelters were willing to house transgender women with non-transgender women.”

“The study, which used test callers to inquire into the practices of 100 shelters across four states (Connecticut, Washington, Tennessee and Virginia), found that shelters: refused services outright; misgendered callers; cited genitalia or surgery requirements as prerequisites to placement consistent with gender identity; and cited the discomfort of other shelter residents as a basis for refusing placements consistent with gender identity.”

Johnson cited a recent survey by the Center for American Progress, which found that the LGBTQ community was 2.5 times more likely to rely on public housing benefits than their non-LGBTQ counterparts.”


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