Rep. Jennifer Wexton calls for HUD Secretary Ben Carson to resign
By Keya Vakil
May 24, 2019

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Virginia) called on Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson to resign on Thursday, saying he lied to Congress about rule changes affecting the transgender community.

Her call for resignation follows Carson’s remarkable appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, during which he confused an Oreo cookie with the housing acronym “REO,” short for “real-estate owned.”

What drew Wexton’s ire, though, did not go viral.

Wexton asked Carson about whether HUD had any plans to eliminate the “equal-access rule,” which “ensures equal access to individuals in accordance with their gender identity” in HUD programs.

Carson said he didn’t anticipate changing the rule, but HUD proposed a new rule the very next day that would remove transgender protections at federally funded homeless shelters.

The new measure would allow shelters to refuse admission to people based on religious grounds and would also give shelters the ability to force transgender women to use men’s bathrooms.

Wexton took to twitter to criticize Carson and call for his resignation.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Carson said he thought Wexton “was asking whether HUD was going to take away the anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ persons in the rule,” but “later realized she was asking a very technical question about the code of federal regulations on self-identified gender.”

Carson said he called Wexton to clarify that HUD’s intention was to “stop treating sex and self-identified gender as the same,” saying he didn’t think Washington should tell the rest of the country how to decide whether is a man or a woman.

On Thursday, Wexton introduced a bill, the Ensuring Equal Access to Shelter Act, which would block the proposed HUD rule.

In a press release, Wexton said that the HUD measure is “a cruel attack on a vulnerable population.” According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, one in four transgender adults experienced some kind of housing bias in the last year, including being evicted or denied a home, and one in eight black transgender women were denied a home in the last year because they are transgender.

Wexton has long been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights and recently championed the Equality Act.

Photo © AFGE

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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