Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Summary & History

Additional Civil Rights

Policy: Federal LGBT Equal Access Rule

STATUS: Victory, Federal

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is committed to increasing access to fair housing for the LGBT community across the country.

NCLR has worked extremely closely with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help shape fair housing policies that impact our community. In 2010, HUD announced that it would begin interpreting the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex to include discrimination based on gender identity and nonconformity with sex stereotypes. This announcement represented a huge victory and creates significant protections for transgender and gender nonconforming people lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. In order to publicize this announcement, NLCR partnered with HUD to create a training for HUD staff on discrimination that LGBT people face and how best to work with the LGBT community.

NCLR has also been a lead partner with HUD in developing its LGBT Equal Access Rule, which extends crucial protections against housing discrimination to the LGBT community. NCLR wrote comments on behalf of over 30 LGBT, civil rights, and fair housing organizations in response to a draft version of this rule, and worked closely with HUD behind the scenes in the crafting of the final rule.

The final rule is historic. It prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public housing, HUD-backed mortgages, and HUD-funded programs and services. Many of the changes NCLR suggested from the proposed rule stage were implemented into the final rule. The final rule was released in January 2012 and went into effect March 5, 2012.

Since the rule was announced, HUD has partnered with NCLR to publicize the rule and train housing providers and HUD staff. These efforts have included:

  • NCLR co-hosted a roundtable event with HUD and the White House to talk about the impact of the rule and begin strategizing implementation efforts.
  • NCLR has partnered with several state Fair Housing Assistant Programs (FHAPs) to receive HUD partnership grants to hold events in different states to discuss the rule. These events have been hosted in Western Massachusetts, New York, Northern California, and Kentucky.
  • Policy Director Maya Rupert appeared as the keynote speaker for HUD’s Pride event in 2012 to discuss the impact HUD’s work has had on the LGBT community.
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