Christian Homeless Shelter Files Lawsuit To Ban Trans Women

The Hope Centre homeless shelter and soup kitchen has cited "religious freedom" in its attempts to stop trans women availing of its services.

On a bridge, a kneeling homeless women leans over, hiding her face
Image: Photo by Francesco Tommasini

A lawsuit by a Christian homeless shelter in Anchorage, Alaska, is seeking to overturn an ordinance that blocks LGBT+ discrimination so that it may refuse trans women from accessing its services.

The Hope Centre, a shelter for homeless women, originally turned a homeless transgender woman away twice – once for being under the influence of alcohol, then again for turning up after hours. While this is understandable, it was their actions that followed which showed their true leanings.

At the time, Anchorage was taking a vote on whether trans people should be included in existing non-discrimination protections for LGBT+ people, (the results being: they will be). However, an attorney representing the Hope Centre said that no matter the vote’s result, they would never allow, in their words, “a biological male” to access their shelter.

These words caused both the city to investigate the homeless shelter and for the trans woman concerned to file a complaint with a local equal rights commission.

Hugh Lane

In response, the Hope Centre has filed a lawsuit asking the court to force the investigation to end, complaining the lack of movement on the pending results of that investigation is because they are being targeted for their religious beliefs. They continued by challenging the existing non-discrimination law, upholding they have a right to block trans women due to “religious freedom”.

Their case has been taken up by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the very same extremely homophobic and bigoted right-wing organisation who supported Jack Phillips, the US baker who refused to make a gay wedding cake.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has previously named the Alliance Defending Freedom a hate group for their homophobic history. Speaking of the case, spokesperson David Dinelli told the press: “What they are doing is trying to use their own purported religious beliefs to impose them on others and kick LGBT people out from spaces, from schools, from bakeries and apparently in now in Anchorage, also from shelters. In our most vulnerable moments they think that their right to hate should trump our right to live. This is not the Alaska way. This is not the Anchorage way.”

The case is ongoing.

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