President Donald Trump is a bigot, and apparently, his administration is equally bigoted.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development—which, for God knows what reason, is run by Ben “Falls Asleep in the Sunken Place” Carson—announced on July 1 that it will be doing away with the Equal Access Rule put in place by President Barack Obama, which requires homeless shelters that receive HUD funding to house transgender people with the gender they identify as. And if that wasn’t disgusting enough, the language in the HUD’s new policy gives fellow bigots literal instructions on how to spot a trans woman. All of this to protect the religious freedom of shelter providers who are so “Christian” that they would turn away a homeless person because they don’t believe their biology matches their paperwork.
According to Vox, which obtained a copy of the new rule, the policy states explicitly that shelter employees may use “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.”
The rule also states that “Evidence requested must not be unduly intrusive of privacy, such as private physical anatomical evidence.”
In other words, the administration thinks it’s not being egregiously transphobic because it’s not like it’s requesting that shelters check genitals at the door or anything.
This level of transphobia coming from the Trump administration, and particularly HUD, is gross, but it’s not new. This administration has been all about letting homeless shelters deny trans people for a while now.
Last year, a spokesperson for HUD told The Root via email that “HUD’s current Equal Access Rule leaves no room for shelter providers to make decisions about potentially dangerous individuals who may misrepresent their sex to access sex-specific shelters.” Basically, a whole-ass government official is echoing the fake concerns of every conservative idiot looking to mask their bigotry through hypotheticals about trans rights making it easy for men to dress up like women in order to access women’s restrooms.
Tamika Spellman, a trans woman and trans rights activist at HIPS, has already said it best:
“It’s making it 10 times worse [for homeless trans people]. Even given the thought that this could possibly bolster some of these people’s angst against us, that is not something that I look for my government to do. Our government should be making it smoother for everybody to live in peace. Instead of that, we have an idiot in the White House that is fostering hate and division.”
That “idiot in the White House” appointed a fellow idiot as secretary of HUD. During an internal meeting last year, Carson reportedly referred to trans women as “big, hairy men” while pining away for a time when people were“just women and just men.” This was also over a discussion about trans women using bathrooms in shelters.
Dylan Waguespack, a spokesperson for True Colors United, a group that supports LGBTQ homeless youth, called HUD out for pretending the new rule protects everyone—meaning queer folk and the religious community—when it really just gives bigots a free pass to be bigots.
“They are trying to put forward this narrative in which transgender people are protected from discrimination, but in fact, when you read the proposal itself, it does the exact opposite,” Waguespack told Vox. “It creates unsafe conditions and unsafe barriers to housing and services for trans people in the midst of a global pandemic.”
And that’s just about the size of it. This is blatant discrimination protected and endorsed by our own government.