Carson: Some 'not comfortable' with transgender people in homeless shelters

Carson: Some 'not comfortable' with transgender people in homeless shelters
© Camille Fine

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonHousing and health care go hand-in-hand Carson's calendar includes trips to Florida on Fridays: report The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Dems grapple with race, gender and privilege MORE said some women have said they aren't comfortable being in a homeless shelter with "somebody who had a very different anatomy" when discussing access transgender people have to shelters.

The comments came during a House subcommittee hearing when Carson was asked Rep. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyDems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons Dems introduce bill requiring disclosure of guest logs from White House, Trump properties Alito, Kagan oppose cameras in Supreme Court MORE (D-Ill.) about a move to take away training materials meant to prevent LGBT discrimination in homeless shelters, CNN reported.

"Remember it is complex," Carson said responding to Quigley.

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"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. 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."

He was further asked how implementing protections for transgender people would impede on peoples' rights.

"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 said.

In a press release, the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD tore into Carson's remarks.

"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." GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.

"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."

When pressed further by Quigley, Carson said that HUD's general counsel would help in negotiating protections and would be available to discuss them with members of the LGBT community.

Earlier this month, top civil rights groups called on Carson to preserve language in the HUD mission statement that promises to create "conclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination."

HuffPost reported that HUD would remove the language from its mission statement and would replace it with language centered on “self-sufficiency.”