The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has joined forces with the Illinois Department of Human Rights to try and stmap out housing discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity in the state. HUD is utilizing the Federal Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination to pursue complaints of gender identity housing discrimination.
Rick Garcia, the Political and Policy Advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda, stated:
“We applaud the Obama Administration, Governor Quinn’s Administration and Director Claps for their efforts in ending discrimination against transgender individuals. For states like Alabama and Nebraska who do not have any housing protections for transgender individuals, this is a monumental step forward for transgender folks and their ability to seek justice for instances of discrimination. In Illinois, the steps HUD and IDHR are taking will significantly help transgender individuals because they will now be able to file charges jointly with the State and Federal authorities. Having the federal government weigh-in on these issues of discrimination will bring greater credence to those cases and help these individuals as they seek relief in the form of punitive damages.”
Anthony Martinez, the executive director of TCRA, stated
“As stated in a study released last year by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, 19 percent of respondents reported being refused a home or apartment because of gender identity. Imagine being denied housing simply for being who you are. For most people that would be unconscionable. These steps from IDHR and HUD are extremely important and relevant for transgender individuals, because of the high level of housing discrimination experienced by this community.
“Additionally, 11 percent of individuals who took part in the study reported eviction because of gender identity, and further, 19 percent of the transgender respondents reported experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives. When trying to access homeless shelters, over half of those respondents reported outright denials, harassment, or sexual assault in shelters. These numbers are shocking and the steps these agencies are taking will not only help the individuals, but also organizations like The Civil Rights Agenda, who are working to end this outrageous level of discrimination.”