Ben Carson reportedly referred to transgender people as “big, hairy men” during an internal meeting with White House staff.
According to the Washington Post, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development made those remarks while discussing access to women’s homeless shelters. Three unnamed sources claimed he was worried about transgender people “trying to infiltrate” these facilities, calling to mind the widely debunked “trans predator” myth.
Insiders do not say, however, if he alleged that trans women abuse others when they gain access to women’s spaces. (Note: They don’t.)
The report, which was published Thursday, also claimed that Carson “also lamented that society no longer seemed to know the difference between men and women” during a Wednesday visit with HUD’s San Francisco office.
According to the Post, staffers were “shocked and upset” by Carson’s comments, which resulted in “at least one woman [walking out] in protest.”
A spokesperson for HUD immediately denied the reports, while also using incorrect terminology to refer to the trans community. “The Secretary does not use derogatory language to refer to transgendered [sic] individuals,” a member of the agency’s senior staff told the Post. “Any reporting to the contrary is false.”
However, Carson has a noted history of using “derogatory language” to target trans and gender nonconforming people. The former Johns Hopkins surgeon has claimed that transitioning is akin to changing one’s ethnicity, suggested that trans people should have segregated bathrooms, and said that being transgender is “abnormal” and “the height of absurdity.”
Since joining the White House, Carson has rolled back protections guaranteeing trans people access to homeless shelters on the basis of their gender identity. He has also cut funding allotted to low-income housing for individuals living with HIV and discontinued surveys on LGBTQ+ homelessness.