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Administration withdraws Trump-era proposal to loosen protections for transgender homeless people

The Hill logo The Hill 4/22/2021 Jordan Williams
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The Biden administration is withdrawing a Trump-era proposal that sought to loosen protections for transgender homeless people.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Thursday that it is withdrawing the proposed rule, which would have weakened an Obama-era policy ensuring that LGBTQ individuals had access to homeless shelters.

Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a statement that the withdrawal is a "critical step in affirming HUD's commitment that no person be denied access to housing or other critical services because of their gender identity."

The Trump administration proposed the rule in July; it would give single-sex homeless shelters more room to turn away transgender men and women.

The rule sparked backlash from Democrats who were already extremely critical of the administration's other attempts to scale back federal protections for transgender Americans. Even before the rule's introduction, Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) introduced a bill in 2019 attempting to halt it.

HUD's statement on Thursday blasted the Trump administration's rule, saying that it would have allowed for "HUD- sanctioned, federally funded discrimination against transgender people, who face disproportionately high rates of homelessness and extreme risk in unsheltered homelessness."

The department argued that it would have allowed HUD-funded shelters to create policies excluding transgender and gender nonconforming people from being placed in single-sex facilities, and would have allowed them to make determinations about a person's sex.

The move is the latest in the Biden administration's push to undo former President Trump's legacy on LGBTQ issues, including his transgender military ban.

HUD in February announced that it is using the Fair Housing Act to penalize those who refuse to rent, sell or advertise housing to someone based on their sexual orientation or gender.

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