The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) released “Shelter for All Genders: Best Practices for Homeless Shelters, Services and Programs in Massachusetts in Serving Transgender Adults and Gender Non-Conforming Guests.” The guide provides recommendations to agencies working with transgender and gender nonconforming persons in emergency and transitional shelters or services throughout the Commonwealth. Specifically, MTPC has absolutely no regard for the rights of Women and sees no issue with male-bodied people sharing sex segregated space with Women. The guide provides that:
“(i)n circumstances in which shelters, programs, and/or housing is sex segregated, transgender individuals seeking shelter must be placed in the sleeping quarters, programs, and/or housing of the gender the individual lives and identifies as. For instance, a transgender woman (MTF) should be placed in women’s programs, and a transgender man (FTM) should be placed in men’s programs, unless the individual indicates that they wish to be placed elsewhere. Some transgender and/or gender non-conforming individuals may not feel ready to be in the gendered space with which they identify. A failure to appropriately assign transgender and/or gender non-conforming guests could result in violence, harassment, sexual assault, and other types of abuse, and could be a violation of a federal, state, or local law or policy.”
The persistent failure of transgender advocates to speak to the actual concerns of Women, as seen with the Colleen Francis debacle, at Florence House, at this D.C. shelter, and, more recently, with Paris Green’s rape of incarcerated women, is a significant weakness in their analysis. Here is a prior feminist response to the failure of transgender advocates to properly account for the concerns of women.
Transgender advocates have demonstrated little regard for the women most likely to access homeless shelters, services and programs – poor women of color, many of whom have been victimized by male violence, much of it sexual violence. As of December 13, 2013, there were more than 4,200 families with children and pregnant women in Massachusetts’ Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter program.