Metro Weekly

Two House members introduce resolution condemning Ben Carson’s anti-transgender comments

Resolution questions HUD Secretary's ability to lead and condemns some of his major policy stances

Ben Carson – Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr

A pair of Democratic House members have introduced a resolution condemning Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson for recent remarks he made disparaging transgender people as “big hairy men” and lamenting that people no longer subscribe to the idea of gender as fixed and binary.

U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), vice chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and a founding member of the Transgender Equality Task Force, and Katie Hill (D-Calif.), an out bisexual and co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, introduced the resolution, which documents Carson’s numerous anti-transgender comments over the years, including as a presidential candidate in 2016.

Following the litany of Carson’s anti-LGBTQ statements, the resolution states that the House of Representatives “believes that every American, regardless of religion, race, sexual orientation, or any other classification, deserves access to safe and secure shelter,” questions Carson’s ability to lead HUD, and condemns both Carson’s comments and HUD’s recent efforts to allow discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, including the agency’s decision to revoke the Equal Access Rule.

Over 30 members of the House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of the resolution.

“Secretary Carson’s history of homophobia and transphobia go beyond simply being offensive. They are completely unacceptable for the federal official responsible for ensuring minority populations have access to safe, secure housing,” Quigley said in a statement. “At a minimum, he owes an apology to the staff he subjected to his bigoted remarks, to trans individuals around the country, and to the entire LGBT community. It is clearer than ever that Secretary Carson’s bigoted views make him unfit to lead HUD and the record must reflect that this Congress does not condone such intolerance.”

“I spent my entire career working in homelessness services where I saw over and over how disproportionately transgender individuals, particularly trans women, experience housing insecurity,” Hill, a former social services administrator said in a statement. “Secretary Carson’s comments were hurtful, bigoted, and do not represent the feelings of this Congress, which has a historically large and diverse LGBT Equality Caucus, or the American people.”

Carson has refused to apologize for the remarks he made, even going on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show to argue that he’s being “persecuted” for his conservative views on gender and sexuality, which are rooted in his Christian beliefs.

Earlier this year, Quigley confronted Carson over HUD’s failure to protect homeless LGBTQ youth during an Appropriations subcommittee hearing, in which Carson told the subcommittee that they “might not like” any nondiscrimination guidance issued by HUD while Carson remains in charge.

U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) recently reiterated an earlier call for Carson’s resignation, on the basis that he had lied to her when testifying before the House Financial Services committee. Wexton had asked Carson whether HUD would amend or rescind the Equal Access Rule, which guarantees transgender people access to shelters that match their gender identity. Despite promising Wexton under oath that he did “not anticipate any change,” the following day, the rule was rescinded. 

Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify Rep. Katie Hill’s status as a member of the LGBTQ community. She identifies as bisexual. 

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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