The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published a final regulation that requires federally-funded emergency shelters to provide access to shelter accommodations consistent with a person’s gender identity.

This follows similar Department of Justice guidance for domestic violence shelters and other programs funded by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Over 300 national, state, and local organization advocating for victims of sexual and domestic violence have vocally supported ensuring access to facilities such as homeless shelters that are consistent with a person’s gender identity.

The new rule clarifies the 2012 HUD rule prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in all HUD-funded programs. It requires that shelters that segregate housing or programs by gender must respect each person’s self-identified gender, and cannot force a person into a shelter inconsistent with their gender identity. The rule permits any shelter-seeker to request alternative housing on a voluntary basis. Shelters will be required to post notices regarding the new rule.

-Harper Jean Tobin / National Center for Transgender Equality