submitted by Christopher Phillips, Esq.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced in a press release that it would withdraw a proposed rule, which, if implemented, would harm transgender and non-binary individuals.  The proposed rule would have permitted blatant discrimination against transgender and non-binary individuals at emergency shelters.  Specifically, the rule would have allowed shelters to ask invasive questions about an individual’s gender identity and sex assigned at birth.

This proposed rule faced strong opposition, including from the Center for Elder Law & Justice.  The move by HUD follows early executive actions of the Biden Administration, to protect LGBTQ+ individuals.  In its press release, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge states that this action 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.”

Though HUD’s announcement avoids increased discriminatory practices, there is still a clear need for safe and inclusive housing for all LGBTQ+ individuals, including older adults.  A 2020 report by the Williams Institute shows that LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to face housing insecurity and discrimination.  This reality disproportionately affects transwoman of color.  In addition, the report demonstrates how LGBTQ+ older adults are far more likely to face discrimination and harassment in residential facilities and senior housing.  Together, we must fight to ensure that all persons are afforded safe and sustainable housing, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

If you have faced discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, please call us at (716) 853-3087 to discuss your rights and possible remedies.

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