January 25, 2011 | Categories: About the FHC, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced new proposed rules to ensure that HUD projects are available to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The full proposed rule is available here. Comments are due by March 25, 2011.
HUD cited as evidence the work done in Michigan by the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan and the Michigan fair housing centers in Detroit, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. According to HUD’s proposed rule, “There is evidence suggesting that LGBT individuals and families do not have equal access to housing. For example, a 2007 study of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation conducted by Michigan fair housing centers found disparate treatment in 32 out of 120 fair housing tests it conducted. Testers posing as gay or lesbian home seekers received unfavorable treatment on issues such as whether housing was available, the amount of rent, application fees, and levels of encouragement as compared to testers posing as heterosexual home seekers. The gay and lesbian testers also were subjected to offensive comments. See Michigan Fair Housing Center’s Report on ‘‘Sexual Orientation and Housing Discrimination in Michigan’’ January 2007 at http://www.fhcmichigan.org/what‐we‐ do/publications/
The proposed rule “clarifies that all otherwise eligible families, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs” and prohibits inquiries regarding a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to Pam Kisch, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan, “Currently we are able to pursue some complaints about gender identity or sexual orientation using federal and state laws that ban discrimination based on sex or marital status, but this is a huge step forward.”
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