What if I told you, that one rule was the difference between thousands of people having housing or not? Pretty unbelievable, right? Well it could have been reality under the litany of attacks against trans people from the Trump administration.
This Anti-Trans shelter rule change was one of the more hateful proposals to come out of this discrimination administration. Not only would it have removed vital protections for trans people seeking housing, but it also would have encouraged shelter providers to decide who is eligible for access to single-sex facilities which opens the door to discrimination. This is beyond cruel during normal circumstances however, in a global health crisis, this would’ve had a devastating impact against our trans siblings.
For the past four years, we’ve lived and worked under extraordinary circumstances and immense pressure, trying our best to hold the line and prevent the last administration from enacting the gravest of harms upon our community. We did not win every fight, and much of the next several years will have to be spent recreating the laws, regulations, and policies that make up the infrastructure of trans civil rights. But today, we won!
The significance of this particular win cannot be understated. Access to safe, affirming housing is a matter of life and death for trans people experiencing homelessness, who are significantly more likely to experience violence than cisgender people experiencing homelessness.
Housing Saves Lives. That’s the message that more than 66,000 people sent to Secretary Ben Carson’s HUD in response to their dangerous, discriminatory proposal. The requirement that they respond to each message slowed them down and made it impossible for the rule to take effect before the new administration.
A door that locks may not always be an adequate barrier between trans people and a world that is often unsafe, but when you don’t have one, it’s everything.
Your actions and your advocacy are reflections of how resilient our trans community is. How strong our solidarity is within this movement for social justice. You stopped them from doing the most unspeakable harm, and for that, we can never adequately express our gratitude.
Onward with hope,
Dylan Waguespack — Public Policy & External Affairs Director for True Colors United & D. Ojeda Policy Advocate for the National Center for Transgender Equality.