June 27, 2019

Harris, Senators Introduce Legislation to Stop Trump Administration Proposal to End Protections for Transgender Americans

Bill Would Block New HUD Rule Allowing Homeless Shelters To Turn Away Transgender Individuals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Thursday joined Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and 9 of their colleagues in introducing new legislation to block a proposed rule at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that would strip away protections for transgender Americans who are experiencing homelessness. The Ensuring Equal Access to Shelter Act, is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ed Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

“Americans’ ability to have a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in shouldn’t depend on their gender identity,” said Senator Harris. “We must take a stand against this administration’s pattern of rolling back protections for transgender individuals, especially those who are the most vulnerable. I’m proud to join my colleagues on this legislation to ensure that federally funded homeless shelters remain viable options for transgender Americans.”

The proposed HUD policy would allow federally funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people or force transgender women into male shelters. The new proposal rolls back the Equal Access Rule, first implemented by the Obama Administration in 2012, which ensured HUD shelters did not discriminate based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The transgender community experiences high rates of housing discrimination and homelessness. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, one in five transgender individuals experience homelessness in their lives, with family rejection and discrimination as leading factors.

The legislation has the support of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Center for American Progress, Corporation for Supportive Housing, National Women's Law Center, National Center for Transgender Equality, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, ACLU, and National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.