Sunday, 11 March 2012 19:33

Exploring Gender: Follow up on Housing and Sterilization

Written by  Cael

I wanted to follow up on a couple of stories I’ve written in the past few months and share the outcomes. Sometimes we need to hear some good news. The previous articles, on proposed rule changes to prevent discrimination in federal housing and the forced sterilization of trans* people in Sweden, can be found here and here, respectively.

Back in December, I wrote about newly proposed regulations to prevent discrimination based on an individual’s LGBT status in housing financed by the federal government. US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan addressed an event hosted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, sharing stories he had heard of the bad situations some families were forced to face and his dedication to trying to affect change.

Donovan succeeded, announcing a new rule was put into place this week which would prevent anyone operating housing funded by HUD from asking about an applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity. He explained the new rule “says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have the right to live where they choose” (Householder). Under the new rule, those in authority over these housing options will be held accountable for any discrimination, providing some safety for those in the community.

At the end of January, I found information on a law in Sweden which required anyone transitioning in Sweden to be sterilized in order to change their gender marker on their official government ID papers. At the time of the article, the political parties of the country had not come to an agreement over changing the law, and the discussion was set to be put aside until the spring session. But at the end of February, the parties agreed the law should be repealed, a great move towards restoring the basic human rights of trans* people in Europe, where 16 other EU countries will still hold the same requirement (Pasulka).

Both of these occurrences mark victories in the road for equality. We need good news to help push us forward, and I hope this helps to make the day a bit brighter.


Householder, Mike. “HUD Secretary Announces Equal Access Housing Rule.” 11 March 2012. Electronic. <>.

Pasulka, Nicole. “Sweden Moves to End Forced Sterilization of Transgender People.” 11 March 2012. Electronic. <>. 


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