Today the Office of Transgender Initiatives joins Mayor London N. Breed and the City and County of San Francisco (the City) in calling on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to withdraw its Proposed Rule change to the “Equal Access Rule”. The City submitted a joint comment to the Regulations Division urging HUD to withdraw its proposed rule.
San Francisco is home to a vibrant and diverse population, including proud transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming communities. While state and local laws prohibiting discrimination will remain in place, the Proposed Rule will encourage discrimination against transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people experiencing homelessness.
The Proposed Rule would embolden organizations providing housing and homeless services to discriminate based on actual or perceived gender identity and sex assigned at birth. This could cause additional barriers to an already vulnerable populations in accessing critical housing and homeless services.
HUD’s current rule (“Equal Access Rule”) requires single-sex housing and shelter providers receiving HUD funding to offer services based on the person’s gender identity instead of the provider’s perception of their gender identity or sex assigned at birth. The Equal Access Rule also prohibits providers from making inappropriate and intrusive inquiries, including asking for documentation related to anatomy and/or gender identity.
The Proposed Rule eliminates those protections. It invites HUD-funded providers of housing and homeless services to deny access to those services based on perceived gender identity or sex assigned at birth. This new rule is dangerous especially during a global pandemic and undermines protections of the Fair Housing Act.
The Proposed Rule is harmful, unnecessary, and of questionable legality. In defense of its transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming communities, the City strongly opposes the Proposed Rule and requests that HUD withdraw it from consideration.
The deadline on the public comment on the Proposed Rule is today, September 22, before 9 PM Pacific Time. Members of the public can submit comments at housingsaveslives.org.