‘It’s gravely insulting to have the specter of violence from cis gender men used to restrict the rights of transgender people who are ordinarily the victims of that violence…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) LGBT activists are accusing Housing Secretary Ben Carson of “transphobic” comments after he reportedly expressed concern about transgender attempts to gain access to homeless shelters for women.
Speaking at a Housing and Urban Development meeting in San Fransisco, Carson said it’s disturbing that a growing number of activists want to strip society of its gender differences, especially in the medical field, an industry Carson worked in for most of his adult life.
Women are justifiably traumatized by “big, hairy men” entering female shelters, Carson allegedly said.
HUD has denied the report, maintaining that Carson does not use derogatory language to refer to transgender individuals. Any reporting to the contrary is false,” a senior HUD official told The Washington Post.
Another government staffer present during the San Fransisco meeting disputed the Post’s account. According to this staffer, Carson said, “Transgender people should get the same rights as everyone else, but they don’t get to change things for everybody else.”
Regardless of the actual words said, however, critics attacked the way Carson said them.
“His overall tone is dismissive and joking about these people,” another government official said. “It’s disrespectful of the people we are trying to serve.”
The official also claimed Carson has made fun of transgender individuals before.
LGBT activists were also quick to condemn Carson.
“It’s gravely insulting to have the specter of violence from cis gender men used to restrict the rights of transgender people who are ordinarily the victims of that violence,” National Center for Transgender Equality spokeswoman Gillian Branstetter said in a statement.
Branstetter called it a “mythical notion” that “inclusive” policies like allowing non-biological women into a women’s shelter might pose a threat.
“It’s frankly despicable that such a harmful notion would be used by someone charged with facilitating programs meant to help people in need, many of whom are transgender,” Branstetter continued.
One Democratic representative, Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., even called for Carson’s resignation.
“Secretary Carson’s remarks are revolting,” Wexton said in a statement.
“These comments only affirm that his recent efforts to erase the Equal Access Rule are rooted in ignorance, not sound policy,” she said. “By allowing shelters to discriminate against transgender Americans, the Secretary is putting lives in danger.”