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Trump’s First ‘Midnight Rule’ Might Target Transgender Homeless People

Despite a Supreme Court ruling barring discrimination — and in advance of coronavirus evictions — HUD moves to strip protections from homeless trans women.

A woman at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless in Boulder, Colorado, which has more than 200 beds for men, women and transgender individuals as well as a transitional housing program. 

A woman at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless in Boulder, Colorado, which has more than 200 beds for men, women and transgender individuals as well as a transitional housing program. 

Photographer: Brent Lewis/Denver Post via Getty Images

With its June 15 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered an unambiguous message: Employers cannot discriminate against employees on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s sweeping opinion for the 6-3 majority affirms that gay, nonbinary, trans and other LGBTQ individuals enjoy the same federal protections against discrimination that apply to race, religion or sex.

Yet just two weeks later, the Trump administration announced a policy that appears to fly in the face of that decision. On July 1, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a new rule that would give homeless shelters the right to admit people on the basis of their biological sex, not their gender — a rule that could require transgender women to stay in men’s shelters. Advocates say this plan puts trans people’s lives in danger.