WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a new rule on Tuesday that requires federally-funded women’s homeless shelters to admit and accommodate men who identify as women—and vice versa.
“Today, we take another important step to ensure full acceptance of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in the programs HUD supports,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement. “This new rule will ensure equal access to the very programs that help to prevent homelessness for persons who are routinely forced to choose between being placed in facilities against their gender identity or living on our streets.”
The rule now requires shelters that receive federal funds to establish policies that will ensure that those who identify as the opposite gender will have “equal access” to the facilities.
It additionally mandates that the “individual is placed, served, and accommodated in accordance with the gender identity of the individual” and prohibit shelters from subjecting the person “to intrusive questioning or [being] asked to provide anatomical information or documentary, physical, or medical evidence of the individual’s gender identity.”
And in homeless shelters where there are shared sleeping quarters or shared restrooms, the transgender person must be allowed to use the space.
“Placement and accommodation of an individual in temporary, emergency shelters and other buildings and facilities with physical limitations or configurations that require and are permitted to have shared sleeping quarters or shared bathing facilities shall be made in accordance with the individual’s gender identity,” the rules read.
“In no case may a provider’s policies isolate or segregate transgender or gender nonconforming occupants,” HUD writes in an outline of the new guidelines.
If others living at the shelter express concern, “staff should treat those concerns as opportunities to educate and refocus the occupants.”
As previously reported, just this past May, an Oregon woman who formerly lived at an all-women’s shelter penned an op-ed for the Oregonian, in which she explained her objections after a man who identifies as a woman was permitted to share sleeping and restroom space with the women.
“It jeopardized the security of a dozen or so women for the benefit of one man’s sense of belonging,” wrote Malka Davis. “Not only that, but for every man who is admitted into a women’s shelter under the speciousness of gender ideology, untold numbers of bona fide women are left waiting on the streets. That is not just unfair, it’s unjust.”
She said that many who push transgender issues do not often realize those who are affected by such choices, including women at homeless shelters, who have no say in whether or not they don’t want a man living and sleeping with them in their room.
HUD, which issued its new rule following a public comment period, pointed to other recent declarations made by departments within the Obama administration, such as the Department of Justice and the Department of Education’s guidelines for restroom use at public schools, and the Health and Human Services’ requirements that hospitals accommodate transgendered persons to treat them in accordance with their gender identity.