New rules by President Barack Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will require officials at homeless shelters to let men who say they are transgender into the same bedrooms, toilets and showers as homeless women.
The rules are being lauded by gay-advocacy organizations who support the transgender ideology, which insists that government must use its power to minimize legal and civic recognition of the differences between men and women.
According to David Stacy, government affairs director at the Human Rights Campaign, the new rules maintain that, “Transgender women are women regardless of whether they were born male,” The Hill reports.
“If you’re a transgender woman and you walk into a homeless shelter and they treat you like a man, it’s traumatizing” for the man-who-wants-to-be-a-woman, the activist added. “These people are already vulnerable, they’re homeless, they don’t have a job. To face discrimination the entire time they’re there is a real problem.”
The new homeless shelter rule comes on the heels of Obama’s new Fair Housing Act which ruled that felons can’t be denied a rental apartment based on their criminal history.
But the housing act also notes prospective renters cannot be denied because of race, religion or gender. So despite the lack of any clarification from Congress or the courts, many of Obama’s deputies are declaring that a group’s refusal to accept a person’s claim about their preferred sex is legally equivalent to discrimination against people because of their actual biological sex. And so, regulators now want to extend the transgender coverage to government-funded homeless shelters.
Operators of shelters worry that being forced to treat transgender men as women will create a dangerous situation for the homeless women who seek out the shelters to escape abusive relationships.
In fact, John Ashmen, president of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, said he’s already heard that the new rules are creating a problematic situation.
“One of the guests at a rescue mission overheard someone on the street saying, ‘Dude, if you go down to the rescue mission and tell them you’re transgender, you can sleep in the women’s dorm and even shower with them,'” Ashmen told the paper. “So that idea is out there, but I don’t know of any missions that have called the police because of it.”
Supporters of the rules change point out that HUD does warn that the rules shouldn’t be warped for illicit desires. David Stacy noted that the rules some worry are ripe for abuse won’t be a “get-out-of-jail-free card” for men who might seek to prey on women who are already vulnerable.
Stacy points out that in its proposal for the rules HUD said, “Nothing in this proposed rule is meant to prevent necessary and appropriate steps to address any fraudulent attempts to access services or legitimate safety concerns that may arise in any shelter.”
Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association also criticized the rule, calling it all about politics. “Why do you have to force other people to feel really uncomfortable, and in some cases unsafe, just to make your political point?” he asked.
Wildmon also worried that the rules would be too easily abused and would likely put women seeking a safe place to sleep in danger of being harassed — or worse — by sexual predators.
Critics also worry of violence breaking out among those seeking shelter. Indeed, in May a man claiming to be a transgender woman was attacked in a Vermont homeless shelter and later died from his wounds.
Ultimately, since Congress has not passed any specific transgender-friendly laws, these new rules would apply only to shelters that receive federal funding for their operating budget and would not affect wholly private shelters.
Fewer than 1 in 2,500 adult Americans have changed their name to the other gender, according to a study of the 2010 census.
In general, the transgender ideology says the state should require every American to validate every person’s choice of created “gender identity,” even though a man who wants to be a woman is still a man by every known scientific measure of evolutionary life. For example, an Oregon law recently allowed a jury to award $60,000 t0 a transgender teacher because other teachers declined to use the teacher’s preferred pronoun, which is “they” rather than “him” or “her.” New York City has also established similar forced-speech rules.
The ideology’s claim that the state must enforce a new right to “gender identity” also means that the state must ignore and often dismantle many civic rules that evolved to help the two distinct sexes — men and boys, women and girls — meet their legally equal, but different and complementary, needs. For example, the transgender ideological demand means that single-sex bathrooms and locker rooms must opened up to people of the opposite sex, regardless of age, and without any verification of created “gender identity.”
As a result, it is now an offense in Washington State to ask a man in a woman’s bathroom if he thinks he is male or female. Similarly, Obama and gay advocacy groups have slammed a popular North Carolina law, dubbed HB2, because it requires people to undergo medical procedures before they can use a bathroom reserved for the opposite sex. Teenage boys who say they are girls are also allowed to compete against girl athletes — and to bump them off the winner’s podium.
Students in at least two schools have protested the new ideology, which are being imposed on children in Oregon, Washington and several other states. Recent polls show the public strongly opposes the federal gender-identity ideology in schools.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.