Jack Beasley

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Social Justice and Equity Law Journal


Homelessness is a nationwide problem that affects hundreds of thousands of people a year. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals face unique, additional issues in their day-to-day lives that heterosexual and cisgender individuals do not. Homeless shelters across the country are full of transgender youth and adults who are subject to more sexual violence, criminal acts, and discrimination than other homeless individuals in the same shelters. The Obama administration’s rule protecting homeless transgender people in shelters is in danger. In essence, Housing Secretary Ben Carson’s proposed rule would put homeless transgender people at a higher risk of discrimination. Agency interpretations of federal statutes have taken on drastically different interpretations between the last administration and this one. Rules and regulations are not enough to protect transgender people, particularly at-risk youth, from discrimination. Clinging onto varying federal statutory interpretations of “sex” is not sustainable long-term, and recent Supreme Court cases like Bostock v. Clayton County show just how tenuous of a position that is.

Arguments opposing discrimination protections based on gender identity include the potential curtailing of parental rights and the doctor’s freedoms. Cases for including discrimination against transgender people in the statutory definition of “sex,” or proposing amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, highlight why the issues that transgender people face in housing, health, employment, and other public sectors are so prevalent that each affect one another. This Note argues that Secretary Carson’s proposed rule be retracted and recognizes that interpretation of protections for transgender people is not something that should be easily swayed each time the political pendulum swings from red to blue, or vice versa. Additionally, this Note waxes on how a sweeping amendment to all anti-discrimination laws would benefit transgender individuals.

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Willamette University, College of Law

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