WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mar 21, 2018, 8:30 PM ET

LGBTQ groups criticize Ben Carson for comment about transgender people

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Advocacy groups for the LGBTQ community are calling Housing and Urban Development Department Secretary Ben Carson’s remarks about transgender people discriminatory and inaccurate.

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“There are some women who said they were not comfortable with the idea of being in a shelter, being in a shower, and somebody who had a very different anatomy,” Carson told a House Appropriations subcommittee during testimony on Tuesday.

Carson’s comments came in response to an inquiry posed by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, about the removal of materials designed to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ individuals from HUD’s website. Progressive advocacy group People for the American Way says it has filed a lawsuit against HUD for removing those materials from its site.

PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, waits to testify to the House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 20, 2018. Joshua Roberts/Reuters
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, waits to testify to the House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 20, 2018.

“Remember, it is complex,” Carson said, adding, “we obviously believe in equal rights for everybody including the LGBT community but we also believe in equal rights for the women in the shelters and shelters where there are men and their equal rights.”

VIDEO: The secretary of Housing and Urban Development testified before a House subcommittee.Play
Some 'not comfortable' with trans people at shelters, Ben Carson says

LGBTQ advocacy groups fired back, calling Carson’s remarks discriminatory toward transgender people.

"Ben Carson’s comments about people being made uncomfortable by transgender people is more evidence of the discriminatory stance against the LGBTQ community and marginalized communities from Trump administration HUD officials,” People For the American Way’s executive vice president Marge Baker said in a statement. “This is a disturbing move away from the department’s original purpose to administer fair housing and help the homeless.”

GLAAD, an organization focused on LGBTQ representation in media, pushed back on Carson’s remarks, calling them “blatant and factually inaccurate anti-transgender rhetoric.”

“It is because of derogatory myths like this, which have been debunked time and time again, that the transgender community faces disproportionate levels of discrimination and homelessness,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD.

A HUD spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Carson faced scrutiny earlier this month for proposing alterations to anti-discrimination language in the HUD mission statement.

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  • pontefractious

    We have to recognize that Trump's entire administration is dedicated to making America into the kind of country his supporters want it to be. If that means forcing gays back into the closet, so be it. If it means throwing non-white people out of the country, if it means a return to the free-for-all rape of natural resources, if it means destroying the public school system, if it means muting that portion of the media that mouths inconvenient truths - bring it on - its all part of his agenda. Of course Obamacare has to go, of course abortion has to go, and of course the more guns we can place in the hands of more people the better. And in case all of this gets the libs and people with different colored skins uppity, well, there are always the white supremacists in the wings just waiting for the opportunity to teach us what should be what. This is a coordinated agenda - not a move is made in any of the cabinet departments that is not coordinated to further these plans. Watch the future actions of Trump's people and you will realize that they are not just a series of stupid moves made by people who should know better - they are carefully planned to cause the maximum damage to the causes Trump supporters have come to hate.

  • pontefractious

    Lets remember that it was Carson who said that men raped in prison became homosexual by choice. Carson is a piece of work.

  • Chutney

    Why are these conservatives so very fixated on the restroom habits of strangers who have not committed a crime? Where is the honesty in this discussion of actual crime statistics concerning real transgender women and not the made up scare mongering that is very prevalent today? what ever happened to the due process rights of the transgender community?

  • Ima Nonymous

    Clearly this man is not qualified to do the appointed job. And he is arrogant.

  • Eliezer Rice

    So I would be able to dress like a woman and hit the showers with the women, I'm all for that.

  • gs12

    But their cool with a 100,000+ door.

  • Richard

    This just shows how completely incompetent Carson is in his post as HUD secretary. He is not able to keep his personal views from tainting his decisions at HUD, which are supposed to be unbiased and in the best interest of the people he serves. Like all Trump appointees, he is mired in controversy and under the scrutiny of Congress.