WASHINGTON, D.C., September 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Women’s shelters must admit men who say they are “transgender” if they receive federal funding, according to a new regulation imposed by the Obama administration. The administration stripped out a provision that would allow shelters to deny a biological male access to the women’s facilities, under narrow circumstances, if they felt it would endanger women’s “health and safety.”
The requirement applies to federally funded faith-based shelters and homeless facilities, as well.
“Today, we take another important step to ensure full acceptance of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in the programs HUD supports,” said Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro on Tuesday when the rule, originally proposed last October, was finalized.
The final rule erased a measure that would have let shelters, which often protect women and children from their abusers, refuse to house a man in a women’s shelter based on safety concerns on a “case-by-case basis.”
The final report states, “HUD removes the proposed rule language that under narrow circumstances, a written case-by-case determination could be made on whether an alternative accommodation for a transgender individual would be necessary to ensure health and safety.”
“Public commenters expressed concern that the exception could be inappropriately used to avoid compliance with the equal access requirement,” the Obama administration’s rule says.
The administration stated that numerous people who commented on the rule feared that men would say they were transgender in order to physically or sexually abuse women.
“Obama's HUD bureaucrats are putting those women at risk for abuse and worse by men claiming to be women,” Gary Bauer, the president of American Values, told LifeSiteNews in August. Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, agreed the motion would further victimize “vulnerable women and children who may have already been victims of physical or sexual abuse.”
Christopher Hambrook said he identified as female before abusing multiple women in a Toronto shelter for women. Hambrook, whom court documents described as “hypersexual,” had already molested a five-year-old girl and raped a 27-year-old woman with cognitive delays. Inside the shelter, he watched women shower.
On Tuesday, Rep. Mark Takano, a California Democrat who co-chairs the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, called the rule “groundbreaking.”
“The HUD rule will literally save lives,” Rep. Takano said.
The rule has no exemption for religious organizations that participate in HUD’s Community Planned and Development (CPD) program. “It is HUD's hope that faith-based organizations will continue to actively participate in HUD’s CPD programs and provide services to transgender persons in accordance with the requirements set in this rule,” the government says in a 73-page report.
Juliana Gonen, policy director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said her organization “strongly support[s] this rule,” because it sets the “example” that laws at every level of government “should respect and affirm the people they affect.”
“The Obama administration continues to make good on its promise to stand with transgender people,” said Laura Durso, senior director for the Center for American Progress’ LGBT Research and Communications Project.
The rule takes effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.