Friday, February 12, 2021

The Reversals Continue...

 HUD to pursue gender identity-based discrimination complaints, reversing Trump policy

The policy marks a major shift from HUD’s position under President Donald Trump and his housing secretary, Ben Carson.

02/11/2021 07:26 AM EST

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will begin investigating complaints of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity under the Fair Housing Act, in a pointed reversal of Trump administration policy.

The new policy, to be announced Thursday, applies to all complaints filed after Jan. 20, 2020 — one year before President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing agencies to “prevent and combat” such discrimination.

The directive requires state and local jurisdictions that receive funding through HUD’s Fair Housing Assistance Program “to prohibit discrimination because of gender identity and sexual orientation.” The agency cited the Supreme Court’s ruling last June that gender identity and sexual orientation are protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawing discrimination on the basis of sex.

A senior HUD official told reporters Wednesday that the agency believes a “significant” share of fair housing complaints it receives involve sexual orientation or gender identity.

The policy marks a major shift from HUD’s position under President Donald Trump and his housing secretary, Ben Carson.

Carson formally proposed a rule change in July that would have allowed homeless shelters to deny protections to transgender people. That was after he flirted with the idea for over a year and came under fire from advocacy groups over a Washington Post report that he had expressed concern about “big, hairy men” trying to use women’s bathrooms during a staff meeting in 2019. HUD officials disputed that report.

“The proposed rule modifications also better accommodate religious beliefs of shelter providers,” HUD said when it released the revamp in July. “For example, such policies could be based on biological sex, sex as identified on official government identification, or the current rule’s mandate of self-identified gender identity.”


  1. As an outside observer, being Canadian, I just wanted to note that while these reversals are awesome, and I am super happy to see them, the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans will never be on solid ground as long as they are subject to the whims of the President.

    1. You're correct, Jo. Until it is constitutionally recognized that trans rights are human rights, plain and simple, we will always be on a four-year schedule. The recent Supreme Court ruling has helped to better-define trans rights, but the specific language needs to be put into the Constitution.