HUD Regulation Will Allow Transgenders Access to Shelters Based on ‘Gender Identity’

By Penny Starr | September 20, 2016 | 7:04pm EDT
(AP Photo)

( – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a new regulation to require all shelters or housing facilities that receive federal funding to let transgender individuals have access to those shelters or facilities based on their ‘gender identity’ rather than their biological sex.

“Following what had previously been a practice encouraged by HUD, providers that operate single-sex projects using funds awarded through the Department’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) will now be required to provide all individuals, including transgender individuals and other individuals who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, with access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with their gender identity without being subjected to intrusive questioning or being asked to provide documentation,” a press release announcing the rule stated.

“Today, we take another important step to ensure full acceptance of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in the programs HUD supports,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in the press release. “This new rule will ensure equal access to the very programs that help to prevent homelessness for persons who are routinely forced to choose between being placed in facilities against their gender identity or living on our streets.”  

“HUD’s new rule will require a recipient, subrecipient, or provider to establish, amend, or maintain program admissions, occupancy, and operating policies and procedures (including policies and procedures to protect individuals' privacy and security), so that equal access is provided to individuals based on their gender identity,” the press release stated. “This requirement includes tenant selection and admission preferences.”

Homosexual rights activists are praising the move, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Transgender Law Center.

“We applaud HUD for providing such clear guidance to shelters and for affirming the equality and dignity of transgender people,” NCLR’s Policy Director Julianna Gonen said in a statement. “This new rule ensures that no transgender person will be denied shelter simply because of who they are and that transgender women, in particular, will no longer be forced to choose between being housed with men or going without shelter.”

“Shelters are a critical resource for people in immediate need of a safe place to go, but right now they too often add to the risk transgender people face by failing to house them appropriately,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center. “We applaud HUD for adopting this rule to make shelters safer and more accessible for everyone.”

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