Washington, DC —When questioned about a decision to remove HUD training materials involving equal access for transgender homeless people during a congressional committee hearing yesterday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson expressed concerns about transgender people in homeless shelters, saying that some people were made uncomfortable by their presence.
In response to this news, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement:
"Ben Carson's comments about people being made uncomfortable by transgender people is more evidence of the discriminatory stance against the LGBTQ community and marginalized communities from Trump administration HUD officials. This is a disturbing move away from the department's original purpose to administer fair housing and help the homeless.
"Carson's remarks about housing for transgender people, along with efforts to hide discriminatory policy changes from the public and to remove anti-discrimination language from HUD's website, paint a very disturbing picture of this agency's priorities under the Trump administration.
"This is why PFAW filed suit against HUD concerning its removal of important material helping LGBTQ homeless people from HUD's website and why PFAW's Right Wing Watch filed FOIA requests for information concerning efforts to write LGBTQ people out of federal agency programs and activities.
"There is no principled reason why HUD should undermine the LGBTQ community's equal access to safe, secure, and fair housing. That agenda stands in stark contrast to the reason this agency was created."
The news comes weeks after People For the American Way filed suit against HUD and the Justice Department to force the agencies to release documents about reported actions they have taken to remove materials concerning LGBTQ people from their websites. It is also just two weeks after PFAW's Right Wing Watch filed a FOIA request to make public a copy of the leaked HUD memo showing that the agency plans to remove anti-discrimination language from its mission statement.
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.