U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05) sent a letter calling for the resignation of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson and lambasting his department's years long campaign of discrimination against LGBTQ people.
Recently, media reports indicated that HUD is preparing to announce a proposed rule that would enable homeless shelters to discriminate against trans individuals based on whether shelter staff suspect an individual's biological sex may be different from the way they self-identify.
A press release from Quigley's office stated that over the past three years, he has repeatedly pressed Carson over his failure to produce LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination guidance documents and uphold HUD's existing Equal Access Rule.
The text of the letter is included below:
You have demonstrated beyond all doubt, time and again, in your words and actions, that you, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development under your leadership, are incapable of serving the American people with dignity, respect, or regard for their safety and well-being.
As a nation, we have recognized that discrimination against any person based upon their sexual orientation or their appearance is immoral and unacceptable, yet you and your department seem to be committed to ensuring that only those that meet your standards of acceptability should be have access to safe, stable and secure housing.
You have been charged by the American people to lead the agency responsible for creating, in the words of the stated mission of your agency, "strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all." Yet during your tenure at HUD, you have eliminated guidance published by HUD to help emergency housing intervention providers better serve their LGBT clients, publicly disparaged and defamed transgender individuals and accused them of misrepresenting their gender to prey upon others, acted aggressively to erode protections from discrimination and, far from creating inclusive communities, enabled such discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or appearance.
At every step, I have respectfully challenged you on these unacceptable actions. I have questioned you, year after year, in congressional hearings, written you letters co-signed by dozens of other members of congress, and even welcomed you to Chicago to have a conversation with six representatives of the LGBT housing community in my city. Yet you continue to attack the people who most need your help.
HUD's newest retrograde and bigoted proposed rule, which would charge emergency housing providers with evaluating the genitalia and secondary sex characteristics of people who may otherwise be forced to sleep on the street, is staggering in its cruelty and capriciousness. Not only that, it is very likely illegal. As the Supreme Court of the United States ruled just this week, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates federal law. Your actions to enable and promote exactly this sort of discrimination have been soundly rejected as antiquated, unconstitutional, and wrong by American society and jurisprudence.
Secretary Carson, step aside so that someone else who understands that there is no excuse for discrimination may lead.