Today, Alphonso David, the President of the HRC, testified in a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on anti-LGBTQ discrimination in housing and lending. The hearing also addressed the inhumane and unprecedented attacks on transgender people by HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
HRC President Alphonso David said:
No one should be turned away from an apartment, kicked out of their home, or sent back to the street simply because of who they are or whom they love. LGBTQ people and our families demand fair and equal access to housing opportunities. We want affordable homes, we want quality schools, and we want to feel safe when we lay our heads down at night. These are simple things, but without them the right to fully participate and contribute to our communities as equal members is simply out of reach. Discrimination continues to persist and, for an agency that purports to ensure housing for all, it is illogical and frankly morally bankrupt to harm those in our community who are often closest to the edges. Explicit, federal protections in statute are critical to end discrimination. That is why we need the Equality Act.
On any given day, as many as 10,000 LGBTQ young people do not have a safe place to sleep. In some U.S. cities, 30% of the homeless adult population is LGBTQ. The faces behind these numbers reflect our community’s most vulnerable—our youth, our transgender siblings, and people living with HIV. LGBTQ people face discrimination and rejection in every area of life-- at school, at work, and at home. Distressingly, the weight of this discrimination falls disproportionately on the shoulders of LGBTQ people who are Black and Brown.
Last month, Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), made horrific anti-transgender comments at a closed meeting of agency personnel that shocked many staff members and compelled one to walk out during his remarks. Under the leadership of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, Carson’s agency has published potential changes that would severely undermine existing protections for transgender people. If this proposed rule is published in its current form, federally-funded emergency shelters would be empowered to turn away transgender people who are homeless or displaced.