The shelter employee also told the test caller that there were other shelters in Alexandria, Virginia and Falls Church, Virginia that the test caller could try.
The employee seemed to get frustrated at the end of the call and gave the test caller the phone number for the intake line and told the test caller to just explain their situation to them.
Two states—Connecticut and Washington—have gender identity nondiscrimination protections, while the other two—Tennessee and Virginia—lack them.
She then asked about the availability of a bed and the shelter’s willingness to house her with other women.
While accessing homeless shelters is difficult for anyone, transgender women face particular issues and barriers that have yet to be addressed. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, sought to remedy this through the Equal Access Rule, or EAR, which makes it illegal to discriminate against LGBT individuals and families in any housing that receives funding from HUD or is insured by the Federal Housing Administration, regardless of local laws.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, people are not explicitly protected from discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act. As currently written, EAR prohibits inquiries into an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity and does not address the right of transgender shelter-seekers to access shelter in accordance with their gender identity.
The shelters were spread across four states: Connecticut, Washington, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Forty shelters exclusively served women, while 60 were mixed-gender shelters.