HUD moves to restore single-sex spaces in federally funded shelters, angering transgender advocates

May 23, 2019

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson was raked over the coals this week by transgender groups for working to restore single-sex living spaces for biological females in federally funded shelters.

Under the new proposal, such facilities will be permitted to deny certain housing arrangements to transgender individuals, meaning that biological women would no longer be forced to share quarters with transgender women.

Setting the record straight

In 2012, the Obama administration gradually chiseled away at women’s rights by forcing federally subsidized shelters to afford broad deference to the less than 1% of the population claiming to be transgender women.

According to the language of the newly-proposed HUD regulations, however, shelters would be permitted to consider “an individual’s sex for the purposes of determining accommodation within such shelters and for purposes of determining sex for admission to any facility or portion thereof.”

A statement posted by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs provides additional detail:

The proposed rule permits Shelter Providers to consider a range of factors in making such determinations, including privacy, safety, practical concerns, religious beliefs, any relevant considerations under civil rights and nondiscrimination authorities, the individual’s sex as reflected in official government documents, as well as the gender which a person identifies with, the individual’s sex as reflected in official government documents, as well as the gender which a person identifies with.

It is important to note that transgender individuals who claim that their “gender identity” is different from their sex and biology are not expressly banned from homeless shelters; instead, administrators now have the authority to separate them from rooms occupied by the opposite biological sex.

Restoring “the bright line of biology”

Nevertheless, progressive groups are worried that some two million Americans who identify as transgender will have their “rights” to cohabitate with the opposite biological sex trampled upon. Citing claims of alleged mistreatment by shelter operators, the National Center for Transgender Equity (NCTE) condemned the plan.

“This is a heartless attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” explained NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. “The programs impacted by this rule are life-saving for transgender people, particularly youth rejected by their families, and a lack of stable housing fuels the violence and abuse that takes the lives of many transgender people of color across the country. Secretary Carson’s actions are contrary to the mission of his Department and yet another example of tragic cruelty of this administration.”

However, conservatives have applauded the proposal for restoring the “bright line of biology” that was chipped away during the previous presidential administration. Former President Barack Obama ordered shelters to subordinate biological sex to “gender identity,” so that the way a person feels about themselves is more important than any physical indicators.

In practice, Obama’s radical policy produced objectionable results. For example, in 2017, it was reported that two women were ejected from a homeless shelter in order to accommodate a transgender woman.

“Some women have had bad experiences with men so they are fleeing men and now we have a man living there,” said a woman who stayed at the shelter.

Forced acceptance

Although polls indicate that most people disagree with gender identity claims, the left is tirelessly advocating to see transgender ideology adopted by government and social institutions. They want to see the Department of Justice apply civil and criminal penalties on groups and individuals that make distinctions between the biological sexes.

From the establishment of co-ed Boy Scouts to the dominance of transgender women in weightlifting competitions, progressives are beginning to muscle their ideology into U.S. courtrooms. In a terrifying court ruling in February 2018, for instance, an Ohio judge ordered the parents of a transgender teen to give up custody so that the child could transition to appear as a male.

Most conservative lawmakers are too afraid to challenge these gradual reforms for fear of being labeled a misogynist or homophobe. But not Secretary Carson, whose proposed regulation is a breath of fresh air to Americans who value and respect the biological differences between a man and a woman.

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Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Jewish News Syndicate.