Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson angered his staff when he called transgender women “big, hairy men” while visiting HUD’s San Francisco office, according to The Washington Post. Carson made the remarks while expressing his concern about men who attempted to infiltrate women’s homeless shelters. “His overall tone is dismissive and joking about these people,” stated one official who remained anonymous.
“It’s disrespectful of the people we are trying to serve,” they continued. When HUD senior officials were asked to respond to Carson’s language regarding transgenders, HUD officials released a statement saying, “The Secretary does not use derogatory language to refer to transgender individuals” and that “any reporting to the contrary is false.”
Another official stated that Carson was not singling out transgender women in his statement. Instead, he was referring to his concern over men who attempted to pass as women when trying to gain access into battered women’s shelters.