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Wexton Bill Aims to Protect Transgender People who are Homeless

Rog Cogswell / Creative Commons

When Congress gets back into session, one bill members will consider was introduced by a freshman House Democrat hoping to protect transgender people who are homeless.

Should homeless shelters be able to turn away people who are transgender? The Trump administration is trying to undo an Obama-era rule that prevents taxpayer-funded shelters from engaging in discrimination.

Freshmen Democratic Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton of Northern Virginia has a bill that would prevent Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson from undoing the protection.  “And this is important because nearly one third of transgender people will experience homelessness at some point in their lives,” Wexton said about the bill.

Laura Durso at the Center for American Progress says Congress can send a message to the president.  “There will be consequences for people who enable the use of taxpayer dollars to fund discrimination," Durso warned.  "So I think it’s important for the House and Senate take the step to say that these are important protections.”

The bill made it out of committee shortly before lawmakers left town for the August recess, and supporters are hopeful the House leadership will put this bill on the floor when Congress gavels back into session.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.