Biden admin withdraws Trump-era proposal allowing some shelters to turn away transgender people

President Joe Biden is once again making headlines for reversing a policy implemented by his predecessor.

According to reports, the Biden administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development has withdrawn a Trump-era policy allowing federally funded, single-sex emergency homeless shelters to turn away some transgender individuals. 

“Subject them to greater harassment”

Former President Donald Trump proposed the new rule, known as “Making Admission or Placement Determinations Based on Sex in Facilities Under Community Planning and Development Housing Programs,” in July.

The rule would apply only to federally funded shelters limited to housing single-sex individuals.

As written, it would have allowed such facilities to deny accommodations to people who identify as a gender other than the one assigned at birth.

If a biologically female applicant who identifies as male attempted to enter a male-only shelter, for example, the shelter would be able to turn that individual away under Trump’s proposed rule. This week, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge announced that the Biden administration would be withdrawing the proposal.

In a press release announcing the change, the Biden administration declared that the rule “would have allowed shelter programs and operators to subject transgender individuals to inappropriate and intrusive inquiries, deny them accommodations, and subject them to greater harassment.”

“Safe, stable housing and shelter”

Fudge defended her agency’s move, asserting: “This action reaffirms HUD’s mission and commitment to creating inclusive communities and quality housing for all.”

She went on to declare “safe, stable housing and shelter” to be “a basic necessity,” adding that excluding individuals based on “gender identity is counter to HUD’s mission.”

The department is actually reverting to a policy that had been in place prior to Trump’s proposed rule. The Trump administration had argued that the previous standard “impermissibly restricted single-sex facilities in a way not supported by congressional enactment, minimized local control, burdened religious organizations, manifested privacy issues, and imposed regulatory burdens.”

The Biden administration, however, appears to be unconcerned about such issues.

For his part, National Center for Transgender Equality Deputy Executive Director Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen celebrated the decision as one “that will save lives, and help transgender people experiencing homeless receive the assistance they need.”

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