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This is why there are delays protecting trans people in US homeless shelters

Written by gaytourism

Ben Carson giving a speech. | Photo: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

On Tuesday (20 March), Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson appeared before a House subcommittee hearing.

At the hearing, he fielded questions about HUD’s removal of training to prevent LGBTI discrimination in homeless shelters. He specifically addressed transgender women in shelters dedicated to housing women.

llinois Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley asked the questions.

‘Remember it is complex,’ Carson said.

‘We obviously believe in equal rights for everybody, including the LGBT community. But we also believe in equal rights for the women in the shelters, and shelters where there are men, and their equal rights. So, we want to look at things that really provide for everybody and doesn’t impede the rights of one for the sake of the other.’

He continued by explaining that ‘some women were not comfortable with the idea of being in a shelter, being in a shower, and somebody who had a very different anatomy’.

Carson added the agency’s counsel, who was confirmed in December, would help with this issue. He also offered to sit qith Quigley and the LGBTI community to figure out this situation.

Concerning changes

Last year, 29 Democratic senators penned a letter to Carson, asking him to return LGBTI guidance to the department.

They called the removal of LGBTI resources ‘concerning’ due to the ‘unique housing challenges facing LGBTQ people across America’.

Homelessness is not an inconsiderable problem within the community, especially for younger people.

‘For example,’ the letter continues. ‘LGBTQ youth represent 40 percent of all youth experiencing homelessness, meaning that efforts to undermine LGBTQ protections have a disproportionate impact on some of the most vulnerable young people in the country.’

The letter also directly addresses Carson’s point.

It gives the statistics that one in three transgender people have experience homelessness. However, only 30% of shelters were willing to ‘properly accomodate transgender women’.

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