An exciting announcement was made today by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding equal access in accordance with an individual’s gender identity in community planning and development programs. This proposed rule is an update to HUD’s 2012 final rule (Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity) also known as the Equal Access Rule, which required that HUD-assisted and HUD-insured housing be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

This proposed rule would amend the definition of “gender identity” included in HUD’s Equal Access Rule so the definition more clearly reflects the difference between actual and perceived gender identity. The proposed rule would eliminate the Equal Access Rule’s current prohibition on inquiries related to sexual orientation or gender identity, while maintaining the prohibition against discrimination on those bases.

If you believe you have experienced (or are about to experience) housing discrimination, contact HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for help at (800) 669-9777. HUD will thoroughly review their allegation to determine if the claims you raise are jurisdictional under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Access Rule. Also, contact GLAD Answers at 1-800-455-4523(GLAD) for information on your rights in housing.

Shelter for All Genders

GLAD also has been working on improving the experience of transgender individuals specifically accessing shelter services through the release of Best Practices and Model Policy for shelters, as well as Know Your Rights Access Cards distributed to shelters throughout Massachusetts. For more on GLAD’s work, visit our website.