- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has been labeled “unfit” to serve by LBGT advocacy group GLAAD after he claimed that transgender people in homeless shelters can make others uncomfortable.

Testifying Tuesday before a House subcommittee, Mr. Carson was asked by Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley to address the removal of HUD training materials meant to protect LGBT people from discrimination in homeless shelters.

“We obviously believe in equal rights for everybody, including the LGBT community,” Mr. Carson responded. “But we also believe in equal rights for the women in the shelters, and shelters where there are men, and their equal rights. So, we want to look at things that really provide for everybody and doesn’t impede the rights of one for the sake of the other.

“It’s a complex issue and it’s been on our agenda,” he added. “We’ve talked about it quite a bit since we’ve finally gotten a general counsel.”

When asked by Mr. Quigley how protecting the rights of transgender homeless people would potentially affect the rights of others, Mr. Carson replied, “I’ll give you an example: There are some women who said they were not comfortable with the idea of being in a shelter, being in a shower, and somebody who had a very different anatomy.”

Last year, HUD removed guidelines from its website meant to provide training to homeless shelters on how to prevent discrimination against transgender people, The Huffington Post reported. Mr. Carson defended HUD’s delay in instituting new anti-discrimination policies, explaining that the agency’s general counsel, who was confirmed in December, would be involved in negotiating the protections, CNN reported.

He also reportedly said he would also be willing to sit down with Mr. Quigley and members of the LGBT community to discuss the regulations.

GLAAD, a New York-based organization that describes itself as the “world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization,” said Mr. Carson’s comments should disqualify him as the leader of HUD.

“It is because of derogatory myths like this, which have been debunked time and time again, that the transgender community faces disproportionate levels of discrimination and homelessness.” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a press release Tuesday. “Today’s blatant and factually inaccurate anti-transgender rhetoric is the latest in a long line of uninformed and biased statements about LGBTQ people that make Dr. Carson unfit to be the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

People For the American Way, a left-wing advocacy group, said Mr. Carson’s remarks “paint a very disturbing picture of this agency’s priorities under the Trump administration.”

Ben Carson’s comments about people being made uncomfortable by transgender people is more evidence of the discriminatory stance against the LGBTQ community and marginalized communities from Trump administration HUD officials,” the organization said in a statement Wednesday. “This is a disturbing move away from the department’s original purpose to administer fair housing and help the homeless. There is no principled reason why HUD should undermine the LGBTQ community’s equal access to safe, secure, and fair housing. That agenda stands in stark contrast to the reason this agency was created.”

People For the American Way sued HUD and the Justice Department earlier this month, accusing the Trump administration of directing agencies to undermine policies to protect LGBT individuals.

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