Feds to require shelters to accommodate transgender individuals

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking to require shelters to accommodate transgender individuals to use the shared sleeping and bathing areas of their choice.

A proposed regulation would require shelters that receive funding from the Office of Community Planning and Development, which spends $6.5 billion annually, to “provide transgender persons and other persons who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth with access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with their gender identity.”

The agency published the proposed rule on Thursday as a follow up to its “Equal Access Rule” in 2012 for transgender individuals living in public housing. The government now believes it is necessary to expand its regulations to shelters.

“Since the publication of the Equal Access Rule, HUD has conducted further review on the issue of transgender individuals’ access to temporary, emergency shelters and other facilities with physical limitations or configurations that require shared sleeping quarters or bathing facilities, both in terms of individual cases and evidence from broader research,” the agency said.

The agency said it participated in a “listening session on LGBT issues” at a conference on combating homelessness in 2012. They determined that “if given the choice between a shelter designated for their assigned birth sex or sleeping on the streets, many transgender shelter-seekers would choose the streets.”

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