Ben Carson’s latest transphobic comments angered members of the HUD staff during an internal meeting on Tuesday (September 18).
In the meeting, the HUD Secretary expressed concern about “big, hairy men” infiltrating women’s homeless shelters, according to three people present, the Washington Post reports.
Two more staffers, who also work out of HUD’s San Francisco office where Tuesday’s meeting took place, reported Carson made comments about how society no longer seemed to know the difference between men and women, the Post also reports.
One staffer voiced her objections and walked out in protest after Carson’s shocking comments in the meeting attended by roughly 50 staffers, the Post reports.
“The Secretary does not use derogatory language to refer to transgendered individuals,” a HUD official said in Carson’s defense, according to the Post. “Any reporting to the contrary is false.”
The official further explained how Carson was referring to men who pretend to be women to gain access to battered women’s shelters — and not singling out transgender women as “big, hairy men,” the Post reports.
One staffer told the Washington Post how Carson also said “transgender people should get the same rights as everyone else, but they don’t get to change things for everybody else.”
This follows a proposal HUD introduced in May that allows federally funded homeless shelters the right to deny people admission based on religious grounds.
It also included that transgender women would be forced to share bathrooms and sleeping quarters with men, the Washington Post reported.
“It’s gravely insulting to have the specter of violence from cis gender men used to restrict the rights of transgender people who are ordinarily the victims of that violence,” Gillian Granstetter, spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement, according to the Washington Post.
“It’s a mythical notion that policies that are inclusive of transgender people somehow pose a threat,” Branstetter continued. “It’s frankly despicable that such a harmful notion would be used by someone charged with facilitating programs meant to help people in need, many of whom are transgender.”
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