Press

Housing & Urban Development (HUD) unveils proposed housing protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

Date: 
January 20, 2011

MEDIA CONTACT:
Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592
isorensen@theTaskForce.org

Findings from groundbreaking survey on transgender discrimination from National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality cited as need for such protections

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced proposed housing-related regulatory changes explicitly protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Data from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality's forthcoming survey on transgender discrimination in the United States was cited as evidence demonstrating the dire need for housing protections for the transgender community.

The new rules would provide definitions for sexual orientation and gender identity for HUD programs and services; prohibit the owners or landlords of housing that is either HUD-assisted or HUD-insured from asking an applicant about sexual orientation or gender identity; prevent lenders of a mortgage insured by HUD from discriminating based on the real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of applicants; and make clear that participation in HUD-supported housing programs like the Section 8 voucher program is available to LGBT families who meet other qualification requirements.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and its New Beginning Initiative partners work with HUD and all the federal agencies on nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people and families. The Task Force through the New Beginning Initiative, a coalition of 26 local and national organizations, works to bring about changes for LGBT people such as the 2010 census reporting same-sex marriages and gender-marker changes on new passports.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"These are critically important reforms given that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people remain particularly vulnerable in seeking or retaining housing due to widespread bias, discrimination and a lack of housing protections. We're talking about one of the most fundamental needs a person can have: shelter. Everyone should be able to obtain affordable housing free from discrimination, have a safe place to live and a roof over their head.

"We've heard painful stories over the years from lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people who were discriminated against when trying to secure a home. These reforms will go a long way toward ending an injustice that has had such a profound and far-reaching negative impact on people's lives. What this means for our community is greater access to and protections for safe and secure housing. HUD plays a major role in low-income housing programs and the private mortgage market. These proposed steps would do much to help our families. LGBT low-income families regardless of where they live will have equal access to HUD housing programs. LGBT people will be judged based on credit-worthiness for mortgages without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. And, LGBT families would be included in the definition of family for HUD-related programs.

"We thank the Obama administration and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan for these proposed changes and look forward to full implementation."

Forthcoming and groundbreaking national survey indicates pervasive housing discrimination among transgender people

In a forthcoming and groundbreaking survey of transgender discrimination in the United States, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality found that high unemployment, low incomes and high levels of housing insecurity all point to the need for safe, affordable public housing for transgender people. Currently there are no federal protections against housing discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Nineteen percent of survey respondents reported being denied an apartment or home because of their gender identity. In another question, 19 percent reported being homeless at some point in their lives. In terms of homeownership, transgender people were less than half as likely to own a home as the general population.

Upcoming full report of the national transgender discrimination survey data to be released at the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change early next month.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.