The D.C. Office of Human Rights has proposed rules that would allow discrimination in housing on the basis of sex if there is a business necessity for doing so. The proposed rules would make it harder for people who don’t look or act like the stereotype associated with their sex to be housed in homeless shelters, universities, nursing homes, and other places.
The DC Trans Coalition is circulating a petition (see below) to tell the Office of Human Rights that there is no need for businesses to discriminate on the basis of sex. At the least, OHR should clarify the rule to specify that individuals have access to housing based on their gender identity within sex-segregated facilities, in accordance with the DC Human Rights Act. The proposed rule is:
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit any private or government supported educational institution, hospital, nursing home, homeless shelter, youth correctional institution, or other organization, with a bona fide business necessity to so do, from limiting occupancy or use of a dwelling on the basis of sex or age.
Here is the text of our petition:
Dear Ms. Taylor:
We, the undersigned concerned individuals, hereby submit the following comments regarding Proposed Rule 1003.4.
Housing is a basic human right and individuals should not be discriminated against in any form when seeking housing. The need to prevent discrimination in housing is particularly important when it comes to places such as homeless shelters where there are a lack of suitable alternatives. Yet, Proposed Rule 1003.4 would allow discrimination on the basis of sex in precisely these important situations. No business reason should be able to trump the fundamental human right to housing.
Moreover, we are concerned about the impact of the regulation on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. OHR should make clear in its proposed regulations that in facilities where sex-segregation is legally permissible, individuals shall be housed according to their gender identity. Otherwise, the Proposed Regulation could roll back significant gains made by the community in fighting against discrimination.
The DC Trans Coalition and undersigned