Women’s shelters in the US must admit men if they identify as transsexual, after a new regulation was passed.
Faith-based shelters and homeless facilities were previously able to provide alternative accommodation for men who said they were transsexual if they felt it would endanger women’s health and safety.
This provision has been removed, and all shelters that receive federal funding must abide by the rule, which was finalised last week.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development removed previous wording which allowed shelters to make decisions on men claiming to be women on a case-by-case basis.
This was despite vocal opposition that it would put the most vulnerable women in society at risk.
Before the rule was finalised, Gary Bauer, President of American Values, said the proposal put women at risk of “abuse and worse” by men claiming to be women.
Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow at the Family Research Council, also criticised it, calling it an “ideological attack upon common sense” that would harm “vulnerable women and children”.
President of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions John Ashmen expressed his concern that some men would use gender identity in order to abuse women.
Ashmen said: “No-one is trying to make transgender people feel awkward, but we’re concerned about the well-being and safety of everyone in our rescue missions.”
In 2014, Christopher Hambrook was jailed indefinitely for abusing multiple women while posing as a woman in two shelters in Toronto.
Hambrook identified as female in order to gain access into women’s shelters and then spied on women as they showered, according to court documents.