The Donald Trump led US political administration’s plans to strip the Equal Access housing rules, particular for transgender Americans, have been revealed in leaked documents. 

In what can only be described as an attack on the rights of transgender individuals in the United States Of America, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson recently put forward an amendment 2016 portion of the Equal Access rule. The result of this is described as allowing of housing services to “better accommodate religious beliefs of shelter providers.”

In essence, what this means is that shelters would be allowed to determine who is transgender– by such factors such as height, the presence (but not the absence) of facial hair, the presence of an Adam’s apple, and other physical characteristics which, when considered together, are indicative of a person’s biological sex,” this not only poses significant risks to people’s privacy, it could rightly be viewed as a blatant human right violation.

 In 2017, the U.S Trans Survey found that out of 27,000 respondents, some 30% had experience homelessness in their lifetimes, a point written upon by Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling in a recent statement.

“One in three transgender Americans has been homeless at some point in their lives, and this proposal would have them sleep on the street rather than get help.

“The difference between being sheltered and unsheltered is especially dangerous for transgender homeless persons, particularly transgender persons of color, who face harassment and threats from private individuals, as well as elevated rates of policing and violence within police custody.

This amendment is a massive blow, and comes after the Obama Administration in 2012 created the Equal Access Rule which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status in HUD-insured and assisted housing.  

When combined with President Trump’s recent policy proposals to increase criminalisation of homelessness, while cutting HUD’s affordable housing budget and rolling back support for Housing First, it is clear that getting transgender persons off the street and out of harm’s way is a matter of life and death.

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