Discrimination Against Transgender Homeless Women in Shelters

Only One in Three Shelters Willing to Provide Access

Discrimination Against Transgender Homeless Women in SheltersThe Center for American Progress and the Equal Rights Center recently released a study titled Discrimination Against Transgender Women Seeking Access to Homeless Shelters. Utilizing test calls to 100 shelters across four states, the study found less than a third of shelters were willing to properly accommodate transgender women.

Only 30% of shelters were willing to house transgender women with other women. Shelters in states with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) protections were twice as likely to house transgender women as states without LGBT protections.

Women’s shelters (35%) were more likely to be willing to house transgender women than mixed-gender shelters (26%).

Seven ways transgender women were mistreated by shelter employees:

  1. There was a discrepancy between the positive information given to the advance caller and the negative information given to the test caller. One shelter, for example, hung up on the tester immediately after she revealed she was transgender.
  2. A shelter employee deflected the decision or service to another employee or agency.
  3. The test caller was told that she would be isolated or given separate facilities at the shelter.
  4. A shelter employee misgendered the tester or made other statements to discredit her identity.
  5. A shelter employee made references to genitalia or to surgery as requirements for appropriate housing.
  6. A shelter employee made insinuations that other residents would be made uncomfortable or unsafe by the tester.
  7. A shelter employee explicitly refused to shelter the tester or placed the tester in a men’s facility or in isolation. This happened 34 percent of the time.

Full LGBT Study