Trump officials plan to let homeless shelters deny equal access

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The Trump team is pushing to turn homeless shelters into a venue for bigotry and discrimination.

The Trump administration has announced a new rule that will serve as a green light to bigots who want to discriminate against homeless people who are transgender.

On Wednesday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, led by Secretary Ben Carson, released a plan that would revise the Equal Access Rule to allow shelters to turn away the homeless simply because of their gender identity or orientation.

The prior rule, published in 2012 under President Barack Obama, ensured that shelters and other programs would not be able to discriminate based on these criteria.

Just the day before, while testifying before Congress, Carson lied and said the department was "not currently anticipating changing the rule."

"He either lied to Congress or has no idea what policies his agency is pursuing. Either way, it's unacceptable," said Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), who originally questioned Carson about the plan.

Trump's plan would instead allow establishments to turn away the homeless simply because of their gender identity or orientation.

"Rescinding this rule is a shameful decision that will result in trans shelter-seekers being forced on the streets," said Julian Castro, who implemented the Equal Access Rule while leading HUD under Obama.

"This is a heartless attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society," said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, in a release.

"The programs impacted by this rule are life-saving for transgender people, particularly youth rejected by their families, and a lack of stable housing fuels the violence and abuse that takes the lives of many transgender people of color across the country."

"This rule will only worsen the homelessness crisis and put an already vulnerable group further at risk," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

The rule is the latest Trump administration attack on LGBTQ equal rights. His administration has pursued a ban on transgender service in the military, pushing commanders to oust service members due to their orientation, without regard to how they have defended the country. Trump has also pushed for rules that would allow doctors and nurses to refuse treatment to transgender patients.

Meanwhile, in Congress, Trump's Republican allies have pushed back against Democratic efforts to enshrine further LGBTQ equality in American laws and regulations. They prefer to demonize and discriminate.

Trump and his fellow Republicans have painted a target on the backs of LGBTQ Americans, subjecting them to discrimination and hostility. His path is cruelty, not equality.

Published with permission of The American Independent.