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  WINDY CITY TIMES

New LGBT housing bias rule in effect
From a news release
2012-03-06

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Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, new Obama Administration housing regulations went into effect strengthening protections for transgender and LGBT people. The regulations, announced by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, make discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in federal housing programs illegal.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, "We are pleased that Secretary Donovan heard our concerns, and moved quickly to protect our community."

The new rule, having completed a mandatory 30-day waiting period, updates current federal housing and housing-related programs prohibiting owners and operators of federally-funded or federally-insured housing, as well as lenders offering federally-insured mortgages from discriminating based on gender identity or sexual orientation; and clarifying the definition of "family" to ensure that LGBT families are not excluded from HUD programs.

With the rule now in effect, NCTE released a new resource to assist transgender people in understanding their rights. NCTE Policy Counsel Harper Jean Tobin said, "These regulations are a significant advancement in fair housing access for transgender people. The next step is ensuring that transgender people know their rights and can educate housing administrators about them."

The guide, called "Know Your Rights: Fair Housing and Transgender People," identifies transgender protections in current law, and outlines the process for reporting discrimination claims. Research from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey show that 19% of transgender and gender non-conforming people had been refused a home or apartment and 11% had been evicted because of their gender identity or expression. The study also showed that 19% of transgender people have been homeless at some point in their lives, and 29% of those had been turned away from homeless shelters and a majority were harassed when they could get in to a shelter.

"It is our hope," Tobin said, "that this guide helps empower transgender people to assert their rights, and add to the strength of the regulations and the recent guidance on the Fair Housing Act to ensure that no one is denied housing because of who they are."

For more information or to speak to Harper Jean Tobin, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at 202-903-0112 / vvillano@transequality.org .

ABOUT NCTE: The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. By empowering transgender people and our allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation's capital and around the country. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 organization.


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