“Equal Access to Housing for Transgender Persons”
According the United Nations’ page on “Combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity” from the “List of Human Rights Issues”, “deeply-embedded homophobic and transphobic attitudes, often combined with a lack of adequate legal protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, expose many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of all ages and in all regions of the world to egregious violations of their human rights” (Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights, 2012).
With the overall aim of protecting transgender persons from discrimination in housing, this petition requests that the United States Congress create and pass an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would explicitly include a protection against gender identity discrimination and thereby grant transgender persons their human rights both to freedom from discrimination and to equal housing access.
As discussed in my Sociology 185GT course on Transgender Theory, there are still many privileges held by cis-gender individuals, or non-trans persons. This includes access to safe, affordable housing, which can be denied to those who identify themselves as transgender (Sklonik, 2009).
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), only sixteen states in the US and the District of Columbia have laws that protect transgender individuals from discrimination in housing: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
For transgender individuals who do not live in the sixteen states that offer some legal protection, a person’s housing application may be denied, an individual may be unduly evicted from their residence, or the person may continue live in sub-standard housing conditions with a cruel landlord for fear of loosing their home. This is the reality for many transgender individuals across the United States because in thirty-four states, it is still legal to discriminate against transgender people based on their gender identification and deny them access to housing.
As a result, these blatantly discriminatory practices are perfectly legal in 68% of the United States.
The United States has been working towards extending equality and equal access to many different marginalized groups over the past fifty years through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This petition merely promotes Congress to take the necessary action to expand their previous half-century’s work to include gender identity in the categories of protected identities, which would thereby grant one more marginalized group their basic human rights of freedom from discrimination.