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Democrats Vow to Block HUD’s New Transgender Shelter Access Rule

The proposed Trump administration regulation could require transgender women to stay in men’s homeless shelters, LGBTQ advocates fear. 

Virginia Representative Jennifer Wexton is leading an effort by Democratic lawmakers in Congress to block a new HUD rule that could fuel discrimination against transgender people, LGBTQ advocates say. 

Virginia Representative Jennifer Wexton is leading an effort by Democratic lawmakers in Congress to block a new HUD rule that could fuel discrimination against transgender people, LGBTQ advocates say. 

Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate are moving to undo a new rule advanced by the Trump administration that could require transgender women to stay in men’s homeless shelters, saying it violates the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming federal protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people

The proposed change affects the current Equal Access Rule from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and it would allow shelter operators to declare the gender of homeless individuals looking to stay in sex-segregated facilities. LGBTQ advocates worry that vulnerable transgender or nonbinary people would avoid shelters as a result, potentially driving them to sleep in unsafe conditions at a time when the coronavirus pandemic raises the prospect that many more people will soon join the ranks of the unhoused. Homelessness is a particularly serious problem among transgender individuals: One in five will be homeless at some point in their lives.