Homeless shelters have become the latest battleground in the national debate over transgender rights.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is expected in September to finalize regulations that would allow people to stay in homeless shelters based on the gender they identify with.
The proposal has set off a firestorm, pitting LGBT groups against religious organizations that operate many homeless shelters.
“Transgender women are women regardless of whether they were born male,” said David Stacy, government affairs director at the Human Rights Campaign.
“If you’re a transgender woman and you walk into a homeless shelter and they treat you like a man, it’s traumatizing,” he added. “These people are already vulnerable, they’re homeless, they don’t have a job. To face discrimination the entire time they’re there is a real problem.”
Religious organizations see things differently.
Tim Wildmon, president of the conservative American Family Association, lamented having to “make room for people who are sexually confused at the expense of everyone else.”
“No one is in favor of beating up transgender people,” Wildmon told The Hill, “but why do you have to force other people to feel really uncomfortable, and in some cases unsafe, just to make your political point?”