HUD Provides Housing Guidelines for Transgendered

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has provided new guidance on the Fair Housing Act, instructing HUD staff that discrimination against transgender people can be addressed under the existing federal law’s ban on gender discrimination.

The new policy, announced on July 1, 2010, offers additional help to transgender people who experience discrimination.

“Ending discrimination in housing is absolutely vital. Everyone deserves to have a safe home where they do not have to worry about eviction or harassment simply because of their gender identity,” said Mara

Keisling, the Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Many thanks to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, his department, and President Obama for their leadership in working to ensure fairness in housing for LGBT people and for this important step forward.”

While sexual orientation and gender identity are not specifically named in the Fair Housing Act, HUD notes that transgender people are often covered by the ban on gender discrimination, and that discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people may sometimes be covered by other aspects of the law.

For example, discrimination against a gay man who has HIV, or is thought to have HIV, could be a violation of federal laws banning disability discrimination, while a woman who is discriminated against because she wears masculine clothing may be covered under the provisions that bar gender discrimination.

In addition, HUD has re-stated its commitment to work actively with state and local jurisdictions that do include sexual orientation and gender identity in their laws to be sure that people are aware of their rights.

Housing discrimination remains a dangerous and prevalent part of life for transgender people. In a survey that NCTE conducted last year with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 19 percent of the respondents had been homeless because of their gender identity, a staggeringly high number.

“While the work that HUD has done so far has been very important, much remains to be done,” said Keisling. “NCTE continues to call for the inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation in the Fair Housing Act.”  

If you have experienced housing discrimination or believe that you may be about to be discriminated against, we encourage you to call HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at 800-669-9777 for assistance or visit their Web site, hud.gov.

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