Homeless Shelters Must Accept Gender Identity, or Lose Federal Funding

By Dustin Siggins Published on August 18, 2016

Next month, homeless shelters — including those for abused women — could face the loss of federal funds if they use biological sex, not gender identity, when making housing decisions.

The 2015 Obama administration policy, which goes into effect in September, has drawn harsh criticism from Christian groups that run many of the nation’s shelters, in part out of concern for the safety of women. LGBT groups say the move is meant to stop discrimination against people who identify differently than their biological sex.

The Policy

Issued last year and finalized in 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said it would yank federal dollars from homeless shelter organizations that segregated men and women. A 2012 rule had enacted a similar rule that included some exemptions for “when the housing is a temporary, emergency shelter that involves the sharing of sleeping areas or bathrooms, or for inquiries made for the purpose of determining the number of bedrooms to which a household may be entitled.”

Now, says HUD, it will “require recipients and subrecipients of assistance from HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD),” as well as others, “to provide transgender persons and other persons who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth with access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with their gender identity.”

HUD money recipients will be allowed to ask about sexual orientation and gender identity, but “discrimination” will not be allowed “on those bases.”

According to the agency, “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.”


The Hill reports that Christian-based charity groups are vocally opposing the measure, including Catholic Charities USA and the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions.

“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,’” John Ashmen, president of the latter organization, told The Hill. “So that idea is out there, but I don’t know of any missions that have called the police because of it.”

“No one is trying to make transgender people feel awkward, but we’re concerned about the well-being and safety of everyone in our rescue missions,” Ashmen said.

LifeSiteNews cited the 2012 example of Christopher Hambrook, who abused multiple women in a Toronto shelter for women. Previously, he had raped a disabled women and molested a five-year old girl.

“The … assaults committed by … Hambrook while posing as a transgender woman in two Toronto shelters show that this is not merely a hypothetical concern,” the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg told LifeSiteNews.

But the radical LGBT group Human Rights Campaign disagreed. “Transgender women are women regardless of whether they were born male,” said David Stacy, government affairs director for the group. “We, obviously, need to protect women who have been sexually abused,” he continued. “But if we don’t treat people consistently with their gender identity, then a woman who was abused by her boyfriend could be housed with a transgender man who looks like a man and has a beard.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality conducted a survey that it says found more than half of people who identify as the opposite of their biological sex were harassed by homeless shelter staffers. Almost one in four claimed they were sexually assaulted.

The HUD policy is just the latest effort by the Obama administration to normalize the gender identity movement. It has also threatened to pull federal education funding from schools that don’t allow students who identify as transgendered to use the restroom, locker room, or other sex-segregated facility of their choice.

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