Fact Check: Pete Buttigieg Falsely Claims Trump Is Making Housing Harder for Homeless Transgenders

Democratic presidential hopeful Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg gestures as he speaks during a town hall devoted to LGBTQ issues hosted by CNN and the Human rights Campaign Foundation at The Novo in Los Angeles on October 10, 2019. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN …
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Democrat presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg falsely claimed during CNN’s equality town hall on Thursday that under President Donald Trump, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is making it harder for transgender youth who are homeless to find shelter.

The remark came after Buttigieg, who is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was asked about whether bullying that causes suicide should have legal ramifications.

“I believe it’s one of the things that could help,” Buttigieg said. “There are still states — I live in one of them — that don’t have hate crime legislation.”

“And we need to make sure that our legislation reflects our values as a country and the insistence that nobody be singled out or harmed because of who they are,” Buttigieg said.

He continued:

But that’s just the beginning of what we’ve got to do for LGBTQ youth. We know that LGBTQ youth are much more likely to experience homelessness, which is one of the reasons why we need to invest more in youth homelessness in general and do the opposite of what this president is doing, which is allowing rules to go forward that would actually make it harder for transgender youth to access homeless services.

“That is just wrong, and it will end in my administration,” Buttigieg said.

In fact, while the HUD rule — posted in spring 2019 — does allow for shelters to make decisions based on privacy and safety, it specifically states that discrimination based on “sexual orientation and gender identity” will not take place:

This proposed rule provides that grant recipients, subrecipients, owners, operators, managers, and providers (Shelter Providers) under HUD programs which permit single-sex or sex-segregated facilities (such as bathrooms or temporary, emergency shelters and other buildings and facilities with physical limitations or configurations that require and are permitted to have shared sleeping quarters or bathing facilities) may establish a policy, consistent with state and local law, by which such Shelter Provider considers an individual’s sex for the purposes of determining accommodation within such shelters and for purposes of determining sex for admission to any facility or portion thereof. The proposed rule permits Shelter Providers to consider a range of factors in making such determinations, including privacy, safety, practical concerns, religious beliefs, any relevant considerations under civil rights and nondiscrimination authorities , the individual’s sex as reflected in official government documents, as well as the gender which a person identifies with. The proposed rule does not dictate a required basis for making determinations other than that they be consistent with an overall policy. The proposed rule continues HUD’s policy of ensuring that its programs are open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Buttigieg joined eight other Democrat candidates at the marathon town hall, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), as well as former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D), former Vice President Joe Biden (D), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), and Tom Steyer (D).

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