The Trump administration announced a change in policy that would protect women in homeless shelters, but transgender activists say it will target and punish differently gendered persons.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson released a statement about the rules change on Wednesday.
“The new rule allows shelter providers that lawfully operate as single-sex or sex-segregated facilities to voluntarily establish a policy that will govern admissions determinations for situations when an individual’s gender identity does not match their biological sex,” the statement read.
“Will embolden violence”
The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement objecting to the policy change and saying it will put transgender people in danger.
“Trump is proposing a rule allowing federally funded homeless shelters to turn away trans and gender non-conforming people — in the midst of the highest unemployment rates our country has seen in decades,” they tweeted.
“Ben Carson, where exactly should Black and Brown trans women — who face extraordinarily high rates of unemployment and homelessness at any time, let alone during an economic crisis — go after being turned away from shelters? Shelters funded by taxpayers should be open to ALL,” they added in a second tweet.
“In a week where 3 Black trans women have been murdered, the federal government is pushing more people into the street. This is a dangerous proposal that will embolden violence against transgender people,” they concluded.
“Safeguarding victims of domestic violence or human trafficking”
In his statement on the change, Carson argued that local shelter operators know best how to protect the people they are trying to help.
“This important update will empower shelter providers to set policies that align with their missions, like safeguarding victims of domestic violence or human trafficking,” said Carson. “Mission-focused shelter operators play a vital and compassionate role in communities across America. The Federal Government should empower them, not mandate a single approach that overrides local law and concerns. HUD also wants to encourage their participation in HUD programs. That’s exactly what we are doing with this rule change.”
The fight between women’s shelters and transgender activists has a rancorous history. Shelter operators argue that they need to protect vulnerable women, while trans activists are furious at policies that do not grant full equality of transgender women to biological women.
Here’s more about Carson’s transgender policies:
HUD Secretary Ben Carson on transgender access to homeless shelters