NBJC: Roll back of the Equal Access Rule is an affront to #BlackLivesMatter
NEW YORK — At the beginning of this month, the Obama era equal access rule was rolled back by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The equal access rule made it so shelters receiving funding from HUD are required to provide housing to transgender people living in shelters on the basis of their gender identity, rather than on the basis of biological sex at birth. With the repeal of this rule, shelters are now permitted to discriminate against members of the trans community on grounds of their own personal religious beliefs.
In addition to the new rule, the current Administration has also released a memo indicating “ways to identify transgender women.” In response to this news, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns released the following statement:
“These rules present a very clear and imminent danger to the trans community, a community that already faces disproportionate amounts of stigma, bias, hate crimes, and violence leading to death. In 2019, there were at least 27 known trans deaths, and more recently in 2020, more than 22 trans people have already been murdered that we know of. Moreover, of the 22 trans lives taken this year, 11 have been Black trans women, and 1 black trans man. As we work to ensure the health and wellbeing of Americans associated with the novel coronavirus it’s equally important for us to ensure the holistic health and well-being of Americans, including by ensuring access to safe public housing.
“A few points are worth clarifying for those in the current administration.
Trans women are women.
Trans men are men.
Non binary identities are valid and as are important as cis and heterosexual identities.
It is the job of HUD to provide safe and affordable access to housing, not discriminate on the basis of personal and deeply ignorant beliefs.
“Trans women and men should not be denied shelter so the HUD can ‘better accommodate religious beliefs of shelter providers.’ Their focus should be on providing housing, rather than finding ways to discriminate.
“Over the last 4 years of the Trump Administration has been dangerously productive in denying communities of people access to social services and public goods. Call your federal elected official to request that they register disappointment with and work to reverse these problematic decisions being made by HUD.”