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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Obama Administration Institutes New Housing Policy That Protects LGBt

A new rule to be announced by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan this week mandates that owners of federally-funded or insured housing—as well as lenders offering federally-insured mortgages—cannot discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

The rule also specifies the term “family,” as used in HUD policies, includes LGBT families.

“Today, I am proud to announce a new Equal Access to Housing Rule that says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have the right to live where they choose,” said Secretary Shaun Donovan (right) at the National Conference on LGBT Equality this weekend.

It’s worth noting the new policy also protects transgender Americans, who are at particular risk for housing discrimination. A survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force showed that that 19% of trans people had been refused a home or apartment and 11% had been evicted because of their gender identity or expression.

“We often hear from [trans] people who are experiencing discrimination in housing. These new rules will strengthen our ability to assist transgender people in advocating for their basic human rights,” says Danny Kirchoff, a lawyer at the Transgender Law Center. “And it will reassure them that our government has their back. This is about giving people the dignity and respect we all deserve.”

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