The Trump administration Friday published its rule allowing single-sex homeless shelters to exclude transgender people from facilities that correspond with their gender identity, pressing forward with limits on transgender rights despite a Supreme Court ruling that extended civil rights protection to transgender people.
The new rule on homeless shelters will go into effect after a 60-day comment period. Administration officials argue that it will make women’s shelters safer by preventing men from gaining access to abuse or attack women seeking protection.
Transgender rights groups say it is more likely to force some transgender women to go to men’s shelters where they could face assault.
The policy is just a small piece of a broader, governmentwide effort to diminish protections for transgender people. President Donald Trump’s 2017 ban on transgender people enlisting or serving in the military has now been in effect for more than a year. A Department of Health and Human Services rule erasing protections for transgender patients against discrimination by doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies was finalized in June.
The Education Department has rescinded Obama-era rules that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice or participate in sports corresponding with their gender identity. The Justice Department has moved to roll back protections for transgender people in federal prisons, and the Office of Personnel Management has suspended protections for transgender employees of federal contractors.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development did not respond to questions about the new shelter rule.
Transgender rights groups and others are likely to sue to try to block the homeless shelter rule.
A coalition of 23 Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the Health and Human Services rule on transgender health care under the Affordable Care Act from going into effect next month.
Roger Severino, the director of the office for civil rights at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the health law’s anti-discrimination provision had been “held unlawful and unenforceable by a federal court in December 2016.”
“We at HHS respect the dignity of every human being and are committed to vigorously enforcing civil rights protections in health care, especially during the pandemic,” he added.
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