Ben Carson: trans people in homeless shelters make others ‘not comfortable’
The United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has failed to recognise that nearly one-third of transgender Americans have experienced homelessness at one point in their lifetime, according to a 2015 survey of transgender people in the U.S – and has decided to focus on the fact that bigoted views are getting in the way of trans people having a roof over their heads.
Speaking out the spike in LGBT homelessness in a House subcommittee hearing, Carson responded to Illinois Democratic Representative Mike Quigley by saying that he will be driving an initiative to create separate homeless protections and shelters for transgender people.
“[We] obviously believe in equal rights for everybody, including the LGBT community. But we also believe in equal rights for the women in the shelters, and shelters where there are men and their equal rights,” Carson said at the meeting.
“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. So it’s a complex issue.”
When trying to explain why this would be the case, Carson referred to the use of a “different anatomy” in the shelter’s shared spaces.
“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,” he responded.
President and CEO of GLAAD Sarah Kate Ellis has responded to the comments, saying that Carson’s remarks are part of a “long line of uninformed and biased statements”.
“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 Ellis to Newsweek.
“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.”
In 2015, Carson was also known to have said that being gay “is a choice”.
He asserted on CNN’s “New Day” that homosexuality is a choice because people “go into prison straight – and when they come out, they’re gay.”