Ben Carson Defends Lack of LGBT Protections With Transphobic Remarks

Housing and Urban Development Secretary says people in homeless shelters are “not comfortable” with transgender people.

Carson made the transphobic comments while testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday.

“There are some women who said they were not comfortable with the idea of being in a shelter, being in a shower, and somebody who had a very different anatomy,” Carson said in response to an inquiry by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois. Quigley had questioned Carson about the removal of materials designed to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ individuals from HUD’s website.

People for the American Way, a progressive advocacy group has filed a lawsuit against HUD for removing the materials.

“We obviously believe in equal rights for everybody, including the LGBT community,” Carson also said. “But we also believe in equal rights for the women in the shelters, and shelters where there are men, and their equal rights. So, we want to look at things that really provide for everybody and doesn’t impede the rights of one for the sake of the other.”

LGBTQ media advocacy organization, GLAAD, immediately spoke out against Carson for his comments, calling him unfit to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “It is because of derogatory myths like this, which have been debunked time and time again, that the transgender community faces disproportionate levels of discrimination and homelessness.” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “Today’s blatant and factually inaccurate anti-transgender rhetoric is the latest in a long line of uninformed and biased statements about LGBTQ people that make Dr. Carson unfit to be the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey showed that nearly one-third of respondents have experienced homelessness, while 70% who stayed in a homeless shelter reported high levels of mistreatment, sexual and physical assault, and being kicked out because of their being transgender.

This is not the first time Carson has spoken out against the transgender community. During the 2015 presidential race he called for having separate restrooms for transgender people and spoke out against transgender people serving in the military.

See Ben Carson’s comments before the House Appropriations subcommittee below:

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