Re: FR-6152-P-01 Making Admission or Placement Determinations Based on Sex in Facilities Under Community Planning and Development Housing Programs 

The National Network for Youth is the nation’s oldest and largest network of youth and young adult (YYA) service providers and young people with lived experiences of homelessness. Together, we advance practical solutions to prevent and improve responses to YYA homelessness. This year, at least 4.2 million youth and young adults will experience some form of homelessness and these young people are disproportionately lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) and youth of color.[1] We stand in strong opposition to any modifications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2016 Equal Access Rule.

Further, on June 15th, 2020, the Supreme Court held in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, “…It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”[2] Therefore, regardless of how anyone defines “sex”, anti-LGBTQ discrimination is still discrimination.

Emergency shelters fall under the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination. According to the courts, this includes gender identity and sexual orientation. Denying transgender people shelter is illegal sex discrimination. In addition, because of Bostock, the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution forbids shelters and Continuum of Care (CoC) programs from discriminating against transgender people. Finally, HUD fails to determine the difference between the rules based on “biological sex” and the prohibited discrimination based on gender identity. The Bostock decision clearly states that sex discrimination includes gender identity and therefore would ultimately cause confusion. Because of the Bostock decision, we demand that HUD’s proposed rule must be reconsidered.

[1] Morton, M.H., Dworsky, A., & Samuels, G.M. (2017). Missed opportunities: Youth homelessness in America. National estimates. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

[2] Bostock v. Clayton Cty., Georgia, 2020 W.L. 3146686 (Supreme Court 2020).

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National Network for Youth is part of the Housing Saves Lives Campaign. We strongly urge you to visit the campaign page, write your unique comments, and submit your comments in strong opposition to the proposed changes to HUD’s Equal Access Rule

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AUTHOR

Darla Bardine

DATE

September 18, 2020

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