HUD Proposes Rule on Gender Identity in CPD Programs

HUD recently announced a proposed rule entitled “Equal Access in Accordance with an Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs (CPD) Rule (Gender Identity Rule).” The 60-day comment period for this proposed rule closes on Jan. 19, 2016.

The proposed Gender Identity Rule was created after reviewing and monitoring the implementation of HUD’s Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule (Equal Access Rule), which was published in 2012. The Equal Access Rule ensures that housing assisted or insured by HUD is open to all eligible individuals and families without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. 

“A person seeking shelter is already in a very vulnerable situation, and they deserve to be treated with dignity when they request our assistance,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “This rule takes us one step closer to full acceptance of transgender men and women, and will ensure they receive the proper services that respect their identity.”

Based on its evaluation of the Equal Access rule and consultation with LGBT stakeholders, HUD’s proposed Gender Identity Rule would require recipients and sub-recipients of assistance from HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD), as well as owners, operators, and managers of shelters, buildings, and facilities with shared sleeping quarters or shared bathing facilities to provide transgender persons and other persons who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth with access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with their gender identity.

HUD’s 2012 Equal Access Rule provided a limited exception for inquiries about the sex of an individual to determine eligibility for housing provided or to be provided to an individual when the housing is a temporary, emergency shelter that involves the sharing of sleeping areas or bathrooms, or inquiries made for the purpose of determining the number of bedrooms to which a household may be entitled. Upon HUD’s review of that policy, the proposed Gender Identity Rule would eliminate the Equal Access Rule’s current prohibition on inquiries related to sexual orientation or gender identity, while maintaining the prohibition against discrimination on those bases.