REUTERS/Larry Downing photo of President Obama with HUD appointee Julian Castro

REUTERS/Larry Downing photo of President Obama with HUD appointee Julian Castro

 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development joined other Obama agencies Tuesday in ruling that ‘Gender Identity’ determines reproductive biology and overrides Title IX sex-based protections for women and girls in homeless shelters. The department defines Gender Identity as “the gender with which a person identifies, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth and regardless of the person’s perceived gender identity.” [p70]

The ruling allows any male to access female sleeping quarters, showers, and restrooms on the basis of self-declared ‘Gender Identity’. Questioning such a declaration on any basis is ruled as discriminatory and women’s rational need for privacy and safety from male violence is dismissed as “unsubstantiated fears” [p52]. 

The rule explicitly forbids requesting evidence of a “transition”, including duration, consistency, or sincerity of belief in declared ‘Gender Identity’. There is no provision to address men who may assert ‘Gender Identity’ for an improper purpose:

“HUD also revises paragraph (b) to add a provision that the policies and procedures must ensure that individuals are not subjected to intrusive questioning or asked to provide anatomical information or documentary, physical, or medical evidence of the individual’s gender identity.”[p13]

HUD disregards with a handwave the rationale for protection of female privacy and safety against male violence behind the Congress’s Title IX provision for sex-segregation in areas of public nudity:

“Contrary to the public comment that suggests what Congress’s intent was in creating single-sex facilities, HUD does not opine on Congress’s intent behind permitting single-sex facilities, but does make clear in this rule that, for purposes of determining placement in a single-sex facility, placement should be made consistent with an individual’s gender identity. This rule does not attempt to interpret or define sex.” [p30]

Yet the HUD ruling does re-define legal sex -as a characteristic on par with sex-stereotypes of “appearance, behavior, expression”- falling under the newly invented federal category of “Perceived Gender Identity”:

“Perceived gender identity means the gender with which a person is perceived to identify based on that person’s appearance, behavior, expression, other gender related characteristics, or sex assigned to the individual at birth or identified in documents.” [p70]

The ruling itself re-defines ‘sex’ as a component of ‘Perceived Gender Identity’ but the agency also defines ‘Gender Identity’ as a “component of sex’ in its response to public comment:

“In response to the comment with regard to this rule’s impact on a “legal sex category,” this rule does not provide a definition of “woman” or “sex.” In this rule, HUD notes that gender identity—and whether a person identifies with their sex assigned at birth or not—is a component of sex.” [p45]

HUD cites the Title IX re-interpretation of other Obama appointed agencies (which call for the elimination of sex as a protected category) as precedent for Tuesday’s ruling, making no mention of the current legal challenges to this very interpretation by 23 states and various private litigants:

“Consistent with the approach taken by other Federal agencies, HUD has determined that the most appropriate way for shelter staff to determine an individual’s gender identity for purposes of a placement decision is to rely on the individual’s self-identification of gender identity.” [p39]

HUD cites various internet surveys as evidence that males with ‘Gender Identities’ are at greater risk of harassment and violence than women and girls. Therefore HUD rules that women and girls must be forced by the state to sacrifice their own safety and absorb the risk from males who prefer sleeping and bathing among women. HUD addresses the safety concerns of individuals with ‘Gender Identities’ extensively, including those who ‘identify as’ having no reproductive biology at all:

“In circumstances where an individual does not identify as male or female and such information is relevant to placement and accommodation, the individual should be asked the gender with which the individual most closely identifies. In these circumstances, the individual is in the best position to specify the more appropriate gender-based placement as well as the placement that is most likely to be the safest for the individual—either placement with males or placement with females.” [p48]

Yet HUD completely disregards voluminous FBI, CDC, and other forensic documentation of epidemic sex-based violence against women committed by males as “beyond the scope” of the ruling, wrapping up their dismissal with a version of the classic ‘but women rape too!’:

“HUD’s rule requires that individuals be accommodated in accordance with their gender identity. It is beyond the scope of this rule to detail methods for best serving victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. However, as discussed earlier, this final rule requires that providers must take nondiscriminatory steps that may be necessary and appropriate to address privacy concerns raised by all residents or occupants. HUD notes that both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and other VAWA crimes include persons who are transgender or gender nonconforming individuals and persons who are not”. [p58]

HUD fully expects violence, (which it calls “physical harassment”) to occur between homeless women and the males placed in female sleeping and bathing areas as a result of this ruling:

“If some occupants initially present concerns about transgender or gender nonconforming occupants to project staff and managers, staff should treat those concerns as opportunities to educate and refocus the occupants. HUD recognizes that, even then, conflicts may persist and complaints may escalate to verbal or physical harassment. In these situations, providers should have policies and procedures in place to support residents and staff in addressing and resolving conflicts that escalate to harassment.”[p17]

Strangely, although statistics show that female stranger violence against males is an infinitesimal probability compared to the reverse, the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is, yet again, solely concerned with the former- the issue of women’s protection from male violence being “beyond the scope” of the Obama administration’s mandate to eliminate sex-based protections for women.

 

Read the full HUD decision here:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-22589.pdf

 

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Julian Castro- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and no friend to women and girls.

Julian Castro- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and no friend to women and girls.

Julian Castro, the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (and the likely Vice Presidential running-mate of Hilary Clinton) has announced his agency’s intention to eliminate the legally protected category of sex in homeless shelters nationwide, eliminating the right of vulnerable women and girls to shower, sleep and toilet separately from homeless men.

HUD had previously issued a non-binding “guidance” document back in February 2015 suggesting that physical sex be redefined as “actual or perceived gender-related characteristics” and prohibiting those providers of homeless services who receive HUD funding from inquiring about the physical sex or sexual orientation of service recipients. Kind of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” provision. Providers were instructed to assess clients on the basis of adherence to sex-role stereotypes and make their own determination of the client’s transgender status. Those suspected of possible cross-sex identification were to be advised that the agency provides placement based on “gender-related characteristics”, and not physical sex: “where a provider is uncertain of the client’s sex or gender identity and that information matters for the determination of placement, the provider informs the client or potential client that the agency provides shelter based on the individual’s gender identity.”

HUD’s non-binding February 2015 “guidance” was similar to those recently issued by other Federal Obama administration agencies [such as the DOE’s “guidance” overturning Title IX protections for women and girls, and the DOL’s “guidance” eliminating privacy for women in workplace accommodations] which attempt to reinterpret existing protected sex categories into a cluster of unspecified psychological characteristics which the government redefines as the core human reproductive trait, overriding biology (or any other objective measure).

The proposed new rule is a modification of the previous “guidance” that HUD issued and will change federal law, officially removing sex as a protected category and creating precedent for other agencies to bypass the legislature, judiciary, and public debate in eliminating the legal category of sex under which women’s rights are protected. (HUD Secretary Julian Castro actually cites the DOE’s recent highly controversial reinterpretation of physical sex -as a subjective psychological self-perceived essence- under Title IX as the governmental authority which sets the precedent justifying his own agency’s move to elevate its internal “guidance” into federal regulation.)

Julian Castro’s new HUD rule will be the first official elimination of legal sex-based protections for private citizens under federal law by agency regulation, and homeless impoverished women in crisis- largely women of color with children, most of them survivors of male violence- are the first targets. Under this new law legal sex status will be redefined by the US government as “gender identity” defined as such:

“Gender identity means the gender with which a person identifies, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth.”

Biological sex will be conflated with sex-stereotypes of “appearance, behavior, expression and other gender-related characteristics” and become “perceived gender identity”:

“Perceived gender identity means the gender with which a person is perceived to identify based on that person’s appearance, behavior, expression, other gender-related characteristics, or sex assigned to the individual at birth.”

This law is designed to allow homeless males to bathe and bunk in shelters set aside for females and specifically forbids agencies to consider the rights of women and girls to bathe, bunk, and bathroom separately from men. There is no provision for “improper purpose”. There is no “right to privacy”. There are 18 references to “health and safety” issues and concerns but the source of potential dis-ease and danger is never identified:

“In deciding how to house a [transgender] victim, a recipient that provides sex-segregated housing may consider on a case-by-case basis whether a particular housing assignment would ensure the victim’s health and safety. A victim’s own views with respect to personal safety deserve serious consideration.”

“..taking health and safety concerns into consideration. A client’s or potential client’s own views with respect to personal health and safety should be given serious consideration in making the placement. For instance, if the potential client requests to be placed based on his or her sex assigned at birth, HUD assumes that the provider will place the individual in accordance with that request, consistent with health, safety, and privacy concerns.”

“..whether a particular housing assignment would ensure health and safety. It is prohibited for such a determination to be based solely on a person’s actual or perceived gender identity or on complaints of other shelter residents when those complaints are based on actual or perceived gender identity. It is likewise prohibited to deny appropriate placement based on a perceived threat to health or safety..”

“..legitimate safety concerns that may arise in any shelter, building, or facility covered by this rule.”

“..eliminate the safety risk and that has available accommodations..”

“…since it would not apply unless the facts and circumstances demonstrated a nondiscriminatory risk to health or safety that could not be eliminated or appropriately mitigated by policy adjustments and physical modifications to buildings and facilities.”

“HUD recognizes a limited exception to accommodating individuals in accordance with the individual’s gender identity when a recipient, subrecipient, owner, operator, manager, or provider identifies a legitimate safety risk that cannot be eliminated or appropriately mitigated”

“keeping a record of when a legitimate safety risk is identified.”

“accommodation is necessary to ensure health and safety. It shall be prohibited for such a determination to be based solely on a person’s actual or perceived gender identity, the complaints of other clients, beneficiaries, or employees when those complaints are based on actual or perceived gender identity, or on an actual or perceived threat to health or safety that can be mitigated in some other way that is less burdensome. In order to avoid unwarranted denials of placement in accordance with an individual’s gender identity, decisions to provide accommodations based on concern for the health and safety of the individual..”

  At no point is the nature of this “threat to health and safety” identified. Epidemic male violence is apparently not only a protected government-sanctioned institution beyond reproach but one which cannot be named. While a male or male-identified transgender client’s “own views with respect to personal safety deserve serious consideration” and his own views with respect to personal health and safety should be given serious consideration in making the placement”, women’s views with respect to their own personal safety are not only disregarded but explicitly prohibited by law: “It is likewise prohibited to deny appropriate placement based on a perceived threat to health or safety..”

Homeless males can identify as female or male and access whichever facility they prefer. Atlanta’s 600-bed Peachtree-Pine Shelter estimated that 5% of the male homeless population is transgender (using the no longer required definition: males who regularly adopt some social cues traditionally associated with females). “Women are allowed to stay in the men’s shelter — because Peachtree-Pine is not supposed to turn anyone away — but they can only stay in the lobby area overnight sitting upright in a chair, said Tony Thomas, the shelter’s spokesperson. So when given the option of sitting in a chair all night or sleeping in a cot, many transwomen will identify and “present” as male, he added.”

According to Mark “Mara” Keisling’s National Center for Trans Equality (NCTE) 49% of homeless transwomen report a history of criminal incarceration. [PDF]

Presumably this measure solely serves the desires of some men to be housed with women. Only a sociopath would suggest a female transgender (FTM) be housed among men. Toronto’s ‘Trans Communities Shelter Access Project’ claims that multiple homeless “transmen” have been gang-raped in men’s shelters: “Although a female-to-male trans person (trans man) might identify themselves as a man… the reality for many is that surgery and hormones are expensive, passing is out of reach, and men’s services are not safe for a trans man who may not pass. If an FtM has not been approved for testosterone, or had a mastectomy, (and even if he has…) then he is at risk for physical, verbal, and sexual assault in men’s dorms/ bathrooms/ and showers. There have been incidents of gang rape toward FtM’s in men’s shelters. Some FtM’s may choose to face these risks in a shelter that validates their identity… but they should not have to. There are no FtM shelters or rape crisis centers, so as men who face (or have faced) sexual assault, spousal abuse, and gender discrimination, there is, as of yet, no place better equipped to meet the needs of FtM’s than women’s services.”

As required by the Administrative Procedure Act this proposed law has been filed with the Federal Register for public comment. HUD is required to respond to issues raised by the public before adopting the law. The deadline is January 19. Comments may be submitted by mail or posted online here:

http://www.regulations.gov/#%21documentDetail;D=HUD_FRDOC_0001-4281

Comments must include the name and number of the regulation:

FR–5863–P–01 Equal Access in Accordance With an Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs

ID: HUD-2015-0104-0001

You can also view the comments that have been submitted. As of now, 30 comments have been received. 20 have been published. 14 have been discarded due to duplication via (transgender activist) mass mailing campaign. 4 are obviously duplicate mass mailers from transgender activists. 10 are yet unpublished. Only two comments mention the welfare of women and girls.

 

[bolding by me-GM]