Carson made some transphobic comments while visiting HUD's San Francisco office. His clarification didn't make things any better.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is woefully underqualified to lead a public housing agency, having no experience whatsoever in the field. But on top of that, he's a transphobe with views so vicious a member of his own staff walked out in protest.
Last week, Carson visited HUD's San Francisco office as part of a California trip with Trump. While there, he complained that society no longer knew the difference between men and women, and made remarks about "big, hairy men" trying to get into women's homeless shelters, according to the Washington Post. His remarks were so appalling that at least one HUD staffer left the meeting.
When called out for his awful remarks, Carson just dug in, sending an agency-wide email to explain his comments. He started by saying he denied making "hateful statements toward the transgender population" but then went on to say the same hateful things.
He justified his comment about "big, hairy men" by saying he'd "heard from many women's groups about the difficulty they were having with women's shelters because sometimes men would claim to be women" and it made women feel unsafe. He offered no evidence to back this up.
Carson went on to say that "society is in danger when we pick one issue (such as gender identity) and say it does not matter how it impacts others because this one issue should override every other common-sense consideration." Of course, no one is saying that gender identity should override other considerations about where to house homeless people.
As the Post pointed out, this isn't the first time Carson has made anti-trans comments or used his position to harm trans people. Since taking the reins at HUD, he has "weakened Obama-era protections for transgender people, saying he believes in equal rights, not 'special rights.'" Under Carson, HUD recently proposed a rule that would let homeless shelters that receive federal funds consider someone's sex and gender identity when deciding whether they can receive shelter.
Carson has also previously mocked transgender people during internal HUD meetings. While running for president, he called transgender people "abnormal" and said they shouldn't be allowed to serve in the military.
It's important to remember that Carson doesn't stand alone here. His anti-trans beliefs are in lockstep with this administration, from Trump's trans troop ban to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' recent visit to a school with explicitly anti-trans policies. Carson is saying exactly what his boss wants to hear.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.