National Center for Lesbian Rights

Legislation & Policy

Federal LGBTQ Equal Access Rule

Location: Nationwide

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is committed to increasing access to fair housing for the LGBTQ 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, gender nonconforming, 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 LGBTQ people face and how best to work with the LGBTQ community.

NCLR has also been a lead partner with HUD in developing its LGBTQ Equal Access Rule, which extends crucial protections against housing discrimination to the LGBTQ 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. In 2016, HUD issued an amendment to the Rule to clarify that transgender persons seeking shelter at HUD-funded homeless shelters must be housed according to their gender identity. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is seeking to roll back these protections in homeless shelters. NCLR and many partner organizations and individuals have opposed these changes with HUD and we will continue to advocate for federal housing policy that is inclusive and protects everyone.

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