U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Dr. Ben Carson has defended his promoted policy of barring transgender men from lodging at battered women’s shelters.
Last week, Democrats unilaterally blasted Ben Carson when HUD staffers revealed he said during a private meeting that “transgender people should get the same rights as everyone else, but they don’t get to change things for everybody else.” Carson also said that shelter leaders and women’s groups said they do not want “big, hairy men” staying at the shelters. Democrats were so incensed by Carson’s comments that they immediately began calling for him to be removed as HUD secretary.
“Shameful. These derogatory comments by Secretary Carson are part of a long pattern that shows his disregard for the transgender community. It’s simply unacceptable,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Speaking to Tucker Carlson on his Fox News program Friday night, Carson said that he never meant to imply that transgender men have no rights — only that they do not get special rights.
“I simply pointed out the fact that, you know, we have to have policies that take into consideration everybody’s rights,” Carson said, as reported by LifeSiteNews. “I say everybody has equal rights; nobody gets extra rights.”
Carson added that his assertions were in line with some women’s groups that have expressed concern with having transgender men lodge in those shelters.
“I talked about some of the women’s groups who have come to me, and I’ve had many in my office, and they say they are uncomfortable with the policy in existence, which says you must accept a person’s designation of their gender regardless of their physical characteristics,” Carson continued. “What we’ve decided to do, first of all we’ve upheld the 2012 equal access law; we have no intention of changing that, but in terms of that broad definition of gender being whatever you say it is, we said we’re going to leave that to the local jurisdictions.”
The Obama administration originally put in place the policy that says battered women’s shelters must accept transgender men without regard to appearance, anatomy, or the “complaints of other shelter residents.” Carson told Carlson on Friday that the federal government has no business telling people who run shelters for battered women how to conduct themselves.
“If you have a women’s shelter and you’ve been operating well, you get to decide how you’re going to run it, the federal government doesn’t need to be telling people who is a man and who is a woman,” said Carson. “That’s a decision they can make by themselves.”
“And I quoted a group that came to me, and they were very upset, and they said, you know, a big hairy man came in here and he says he’s a woman, and that upsets us because many of us are trying to escape that,” he continued. “But the political correctness says you have to say what we want you to say, and that will destroy freedom of speech. And I’ve offered transgender groups the opportunity to let me know what their solution would be so that everybody’s rights are observed. I haven’t heard one peep.”