Another day, another bad story about Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, a man who just wants to have a nice table..... and deprive trans people of basic rights.
On Tuesday, in the midst of his table mutterings, Carson justified his agency’s decision to pull anti-discrimination training materials from HUD’s website, calling the removal a response to women who “were not comfortable” being in a shelter with “somebody who had a very different anatomy.” The materials, as noted in a letter to the HUD secretary written last year by Democratic senators, were developed in consultation with direct service providers to help ensure safe and equal access to shelter for LGBTQ people experiencing homelessness.
“We obviously believe in equal rights for everybody, including the LGBT community,” Carson said at the House subcommittee hearing. “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.”
Carson is regurgitating a vile myth embraced by Republicans in recent years: That trans people using public facilities or services that correspond to their gender identity somehow enables predatory cis men to assault people. In reality, this is total hateful bullshit, and trans people are actually far more likely to being targets of verbal or physical harassment in gendered public restrooms.
The Trump administration has consistently targeted transgender rights, including banning trans people from serving openly in the military, enabling discrimination against trans students, and permitting health care providers and government employees to deny services to trans people based on what they say are moral or religious grounds. In March, the People for the American Way sued HUD and the DOJ over the removal of mentions of LGBTQ individuals from their programs.
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, 40 percent of homeless youth are trans people who have been rejected by family, discriminated against, and/or experienced violence based on their gender identity; one in five trans people have been homeless at some point in their lives.
What was that again about “equal rights?”