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HUD campaign raises housing non-discrimination awareness

Department examines comments for proposed non-discrimination rule

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The Department of Housing & Urban Development is launching a new campaign that aims to inform LGBT people about services related to housing discrimination as the department works to make final a rule that, in some circumstances, could provide recourse to LGBT people who encounter bias in housing.

The campaign, titled “Live Free,” kicked off last week and will run throughout 2011. The initiative includes Facebook ads, targeted print ads, digital videos, and podcasts. For example, one print ad reads “Should Gender Stereotypes Influence Where Your live? Learn More.”

John Trasviña, HUD’s assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, said the campaign is intended to highlight the protections HUD offers against housing discrimination.

“We recognize that we can have all the rules we want, but unless people know about them, they’re not going to mean anything,” Trasviña said. “So, in addition to some of the actions that we’ve taken, what we’re trying to do through this public service campaign is to elevate our presence in the LGBT community … so people who have been discriminated against, or people who feel they have been barred from housing, will be able to know that they may have rights under federal law, and, if not, they have it under state and local law.”

The Fair Housing Act doesn’t explicitly prohibit housing discrimination based on of sexual orientation and gender identity. However, housing discrimination against someone who is LGBT may, in some cases, violate the law’s existing provisions, including its prohibition against gender discrimination. Additionally, 20 states and more than 200 local government have made LGBT-related housing discrimination illegal.

“While the person think it’s because of the LGBT status, maybe it’s because of their LGBT status and race, or they have a disability,” Trasviña said. “Rather than just saying, ‘We don’t cover LGBT cases,’ we’re now saying, ‘We will look into it and see whether we do have jurisdiction.'”

Trasviña said he couldn’t estimate the breadth of the campaign — or quantify in how many paper the ads would appear — because he said the campaign is just underway and the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year is still in question. The secretary also said he didn’t immediately have a cost estimate for the campaign.

As the “Live Free” campaign launches, HUD is in the process of implementation a proposed rule to ensure that HUD housing and programs are open to all, irrespective of marital status, gender identify, and sexual orientation. The proposed rule doesn’t apply to private housing, but HUD housing and programs.

The 60-day comment period for the proposed rule, which was announced in late January, ended on March 25. Trasviña said HUD has been examining the more than 300 comments it received during this period and said they were “overwhelming positive.”

“The rule itself is a recognition by HUD that our programs and our housing … are open to all families,” Trasviña said. “We want to make sure that that concept translates into the 21st century. So we want to make sure that 21st families, which LGBT members, are able to have access to HUD programs and HUD housing.”

Trasviña said the rule would be made final by the end of the year, but said he couldn’t give a more definite particular date.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. John Colby

    April 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    The true test of HUD’s new campaign for LGBT equal access is the Mission Gardens Apartments, a Section 8 project in Santa Cruz, California. It is managed by The John Stewart Company and administered by the California Housing Finance Agency under contract to HUD.

    At Mission Gardens, a gang of adult predators stalk residents who they perceive to be LGBT. They taunt them with homophobic profanities. They vandalize cars with LGBT hate symbols. They solicit neighbors with petitions to run (perceived) LGBT residents out of the apartment complex and off of the Section 8 program.

    Worst, using the crudest of LGBT stereotypes, they spread vicious lies that (perceived) LGBT residents endanger resident children.

    Like I wrote, the Mission Gardens Apartments is the true test for HUD’s new campaign to ensure equal access to (perceived) LGBT people to its Section 8 program.

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Politics

Pete Buttigieg calls out Tucker Carlson over attack

Fox News host mocked transportation secretary over paternity leave

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Washington Blade file photo)

Appearing remotely on MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace’s politics program Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the attack on his parental leave.

“This attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk, ” Buttigieg said.

During his Thursday evening program Carlson said, “Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child—paternity leave, they call it—trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went. But now he’s back in office as the transportation secretary and he’s deeply amused, he says, to see that dozens of container ships can’t get into this country.”

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National

Biden recognizes National Coming Out Day as time to honor LGBTQ people

White House statement denounces ‘bullying and harassment’

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President Biden recognized Oct. 11 as National Coming Out Day in a statement on Monday calling the occasion a time to celebrate the “courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self.”

Biden ticked off in the statement the achievements on LGBTQ policy, including signing an executive order on his first day in his office ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year against anti-LGBTQ discrimination to the furthest extent possible.

“Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures,” Biden said. “Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere.”

Read Biden’s full statement below:

Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on National Coming Out Day

Today, we celebrate National Coming Out Day and the courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self. Today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are – regardless of whether or not you’ve come out.

My Administration is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people can live openly, proudly, and freely in every corner of our nation. I am proud to lead an Administration with LGBTQ+ officials serving openly at the highest levels of government — and prouder that together we have made historic progress advancing protections and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community. From acting on Day One to prevent and combat discrimination, to enabling all qualified Americans – including transgender Americans – to serve their country in uniform, to defending the human rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world, my Administration has been clear that we will continue to champion the dignity, equality, and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere. From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.

To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you. My Administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect you deserve.

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News

Senators to Rachel Levine: Issue guidance on mental health for trans youth

New instructions sought as more than half of trans youth contemplate suicide

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Sen. Chris Murphy (left) is leading the call on Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine to offer guidance on trans health care.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is leading a group of senators who are urging Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to win Senate confirmation as a presidential appointee, to issue new guidance on mental health care needs for trans youth.

In a letter dated Sept. 30 and obtained Tuesday by the Washington Blade, the senators make the case current standards are insufficient for trans and gender expansive, or TGE, adolescents, including exploring, non-binary, agender, genderfluid and queer youth.

“Our goal is to help mental health providers offer the best care they can to the nation’s TGE youth without a delay in treatment,” the letter says. “The focus of this request is for the pressing needs of hospital or residential care even as we recognize the need for guidance across all settings of mental health care.”

Specifically, the senators call on the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council, or BHCC, and experts in the field of adolescent trans care to offer guidance on best practices for inpatient mental health care among these youth.

The senators address the letter to Levine, who in addition to being trans has a background in care for adolescent youth, and Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use.

Cited in the letter are findings from the Trevor Project, an organization that supports LGBTQ youth, which determined more than half of trans and non-binary youth seriously contemplated killing themselves in 2020.

“While behavioral health and pediatric organizations have published resources regarding TGE health care, we have heard from hospital providers they are seeking guidance on best practices for serving gender diverse youth in community residential and inpatient mental health settings,” the letter says.

The seven senators who signed the letter along with Murphy are Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

An HHS spokesperson for Levine’s office, in response to the letter, told the Blade: “We have received the letter and will be reviewing it.”

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