Hopefully, by this point, nobody will be surprised to learn that a Trump crony is attacking queer people. But the sheer cruelty of the new Ben Carson homelessness policy is shocking, even for him.
Carson, the bumbling dummy whose claims to fame include a belief that prison turns people gay, suggesting that someone filled the pyramids with grain, lying about getting a West Point scholarship, and chiseling a misspelled bible quote into the wall of his house, is currently running the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Ordinarily, the person running that department is responsible for guiding the nation’s housing supply and addressing the needs of people seeking shelter. But Ben isn’t running HUD so much as he’s running it into the ground.
In just the last few weeks, he’s launched two attacked on queer Americans, with the result being that queer people will be more likely than ever to experience homelessness.
First, Carson’s department deleted a statement that it is committed to ending housing discrimination. Under more competent administrations, HUD included nondiscrimination in its mission statement. That’s particularly crucial for queer people, who are more likely to be kicked out of their homes, to be evicted for being queer, or to be denied income needed to meet their housing needs.
Before the arrival of Ben Carson, HUD worked with housing providers who received government funding to ensure that queer people were treated equally. But not anymore.
But even worse, Carson arrived at a hearing last week and lashed out at transgender people who have the nerve to try to access homeless shelters. Transgender Americans are disproportionately likely to experience homelessness, and are in dire need of services to get off the street and into shelter where they can build a life. But if Ben Carson had his way, they’d stay homeless.
Specifically, Carson’s agency eliminated guidance for shelters, directing them to accommodate trans clients. Previously, HUD instructed shelters to assist people on an equal and respectful basis. But thanks to Carson’s deletions, the department is no longer ensuring that trans people can access the same services as cis people.
When questioned about the shift in policy, Carson decided to attack people for being homeless and trans. He claimed — without evidence — that there was some kind of threat to introducing “different anatomy” into shelters. Of course, trans people have been using homeless shelters for decades, and there’s no sign that they’re more likely to cause problems than cis clients. Ben’s simply making things up again, like the time he said he stabbed somebody but probably didn’t.
Carson’s weird deception and his hostility to queer people is nothing new, and it’s so intense and misguided it would be funny — if there weren’t real life victims. All over the country, there are queer people trying to stabilize their housing, to get their lives together, to find a safe place to sleep at night … and Ben’s just turning a blind eye, making it actively harder for them to survive.
The more we learn about Ben Carson, the less surprising it is that he misspelled a Bible quote. Seems as though he hasn’t managed to retain much of anything from that book.