Housing and Urban Development Secretary (HUD) Ben Carson is concerned that men who identify as transgender women may pose a threat when they want to live in homeless shelters with biological women.
That’s part of Carson’s commitment to “equal rights” and not “extra rights,” HUD told the Daily Caller Friday.
Carson reportedly raised the objection Tuesday during a private meeting with HUD officials and his words reportedly shocked some of the staffers present who thought Carson was showing intolerance towards transgender people, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
Minneapolis, MN-June 18: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson spoke to the media after a small tour of the EcoVillage Apartments, a community of affordable housing. (Photo by Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via Getty Images)
But HUD spokeswoman Caroline Vanvick told the Daily Caller that Carson is concerned with ensuring everyone has “equal rights — not given extra rights.”
The HUD secretary was in San Francisco to inspect facilities and reportedly also said that it is unfortunate that present-day society is increasingly defining gender as a matter of choice and not a fact of biology. His remarks about women possibly feeling threatened by transgender people apparently upset some of the 50 staffers in the room at the meeting. (RELATED: Ben Carson Defends Trump’s Tweets, Says President Is Not A Racist)
HUD is in the midst of a formulating a policy that would allow federally funded shelters to separate the sexes on a strictly biological basis if the managers of those facilities think it would violate safety concerns of religious beliefs to allow biological men to room with biological women.
The key line in the proposed rule states: “The proposed rule permits Shelter Providers to consider a range of factors in making such determination, including privacy, safety, practical concerns, religious beliefs, any relevant considerations under civil rights and nondiscrimination authorities, the individual’s sex as reflected in official government documents, as well as the gender which a person identifies with.” (RELATED: Human Rights Campaign Accuses Carson Of Being A Segregationist)
Demonstrators protest for transgender rights with a rally, march through the Loop and a candlelight vigil to remember transgender friends lost to murder and suicide on March 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Carson has defended this proposal by saying he needs to “make sure everybody is treated fairly.” In the past, the doctor has derided political correctness for “destroying our nation.”
But according to one source who spoke to the Post, Carson has used insulting and dismissive terminology when referring to transgender people.
“His overall tone is dismissive and joking about these people,” the official told the Post. “It’s disrespectful of the people we are trying to serve.”
Vanvick refuted the notion that that Carson would be disrespectful, calling him a “smart, kind and caring individual.”
“Secretary Carson is a smart, kind, and caring individual, and he will continue to make sure everyone is guaranteed equal rights—not given extra rights. He does not believe any one group deserves to be treated better or worse than any other group. It’s a sad state of affairs when staff tasked with serving the public would attempt to twist his words in order to politically grandstand.”