Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (located at The Bridge) Transgender Policy


MDHA has a non-discriminatory policy of respect for all people without regard to their race, ancestry, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, mental disability, physical disability, age, marital status, or other arbitrary characteristics. It is our goal to provide equal treatment of all homeless people seeking our services.

Discrimination is prohibited in all aspects of employment and housing practices, and MDHA is committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect. It is our intent to provide a welcoming atmosphere to all, in a physically and emotionally safe environment. MDHA will not tolerate the threat or acts of violence nor harassment based on discriminatory practices. MDHA appreciates the value of diversity and embraces all persons seeking services at any of our facilities.

As a provider of services for the homeless, MDHA recognizes that people living without housing have the right to decent, safe, affordable and appropriate housing and services, without regard to their physical attributes or protected status.

In as such, MDHA has adopted a new standard operating procedure that addresses gender perception and gender identity issues.

Please see attached policy.Policy for Accommodations of Transgender Persons*
I. Policy of Non-Discrimination [A policy of Respect]
A. Respect
Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) has a policy of respect for all people, including transgender people. The policy is to respect the gender of each person as they self-identify it. For example, if someone says she is a woman, she is a woman. A person’s gender does not depend on whether or not they have had surgery or other medical treatments. Employees should not require that guests or residents remove gendered clothing.
Employees must never tell others a guest’s or resident’s transgender status because it is confidential, and because if others know a person is transgender, he or she may be subject to additional discrimination, harassment or even assault.
B. Non-Discrimination
MDHA has a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender. Gender means a person's actual sex or perceived sex and includes a person's perceived identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with a person's sex at birth. [“Gender” refers to actual or perceived sex and includes a person's identity, appearance, expression, or behavior whether or not that identity, appearance, expression, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's assigned sex at birth.
Issues relating to non-discrimination shall be made clear in recruiting, informational materials, and orientation sessions. Physically safe, secure, and appropriate space with a welcoming, emotionally safe atmosphere shall be available to all persons at MDHA.
Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance is committed to ending discrimination. MDHA will not allow violence or harassment. MDHA is committed to the appreciation of the value of diversity, including diversity of gender identity.
C. Pronoun Use
Employees must display a basic respect for transgender men and women and ensure that others do so as well. This means asking transgender individuals what name or names they prefer to be called.
MDHA will refer to a transgender female as “she” when talking to the guest/resident, and use that pronoun in reports or other documents relating to the transgender guest/resident’s case. If the individual is presenting and living as a female (regardless of surgical status), mark the person as female (“F”) on documents relating to the transgender guest/resident’s case and refer to the person as “she” in the narrative. Do not refer to the person as “he” in the report, or when talking to the transgender guest/resident. This will be done out of respect to the transgender individual.
MDHA will refer to a transgender male as "he" when talking to the guest/resident, and use that pronoun in reports or other documents relating to the transgender guest/resident’s case. If the individual is presenting and living as a male (regardless of surgical status), mark the person as male (“M”) on documents relating to the transgender guest/resident’s case and refer to the person as “he” in the narrative. Do not refer to the person as “she” in the report, or when talking to the transgender guest/resident. This will be done out of respect to the transgender individual.
II. Eligibility for Services
The services at MDHA are made fully available to transgender men/women who live their lives “24/7” (24 hours per day, 7 days per week) or “full time”. In other words, such transgender persons who would otherwise qualify for services based upon objective criteria will be extended or denied services just as any other person would be. It shall make no difference whether or not the transgender man/woman has had or intends to have genital surgery (“sex reassignment surgery”), only that the transgender person lives his/her life as a man/woman. No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of the United States because of the other person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation, or because he or she perceives that the other person has one or more of those characteristics.
III. Provision of Services
MDHA will provide transgender men/women who are accepted for services with the same range of professional services available to other guest/residents that we serve. Discriminatory and prejudice-motivated [bias] comments and other behavior, which creates a hostile environment on the part of Employees, volunteers, and other residents, will not be tolerated. Harassment of all kinds is prohibited. If guests/residents are harassing any person, including a transgender person, Employees must make sure that it stops. This policy is to be uniformly enforced whether the guest/resident is openly transgender or whether the guest/resident is thought to be transgender but has not disclosed their status.
A. Hiring for Employees and Volunteer Positions
MDHA will add “gender” or “gender identity” to its list of classes protected from discrimination in the agency’s hiring and volunteer retention practices. In other words, candidates for Employees and volunteer positions will not be discriminated against on the basis of their gender or gender identity, and transgender candidates will be given the same consideration as other candidates.
B. Accessibility of Physical Accommodations
MDHA will make appropriate bathroom and bedroom facilities as well as changing areas available to transgender guest/residents.
People who identify as women are to be housed with the women and use the women’s showers and bathrooms. Transgender women shall have the same access to bathrooms, showers, changing areas, and bedrooms as persons assigned female at birth.
People who identify as men are to be housed with the men and use the men’s showers and bathrooms. Transgender men shall have the same access to bathrooms, showers, changing areas, and bedrooms as persons assigned male at birth.
People who do not clearly identify as male or female are to be housed in and use the bathrooms and showers in whichever section they feel safest. If this bothers the other residents of that section, Employees should patiently explain to those residents that the person is not a threat to them and that they should be respected.
Special accommodations may be made for transgender men/women who have not had genital surgery (“sex reassignment surgery”). They are considered “non-operative” or “pre-operative”. Transgender men (who have a vagina or breasts) or transgender women (who have a penis) may share bathrooms, bedrooms, and changing areas with birth assigned women/men if there are stalls, latching or locking doors, curtains, or other devices that provide them and other guest/residents with privacy (that is, prevent public exposure of genitals) when nudity is required. If such privacy is not available, reasonable attempts shall be made to provide alternate accommodations such as single bedrooms or alternate times to change or bathe. {Texas Law states: “Every person who willfully and lewdly, either: 1. Exposes his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where there are present other persons to be offender or annoyed thereby… Is guilty of a misdemeanor.”}
IV. Posting and Distribution of Policies
MDHA shall publicly post non-discrimination policies for both employment and guest/resident services and shall distribute them to Employees as well as to volunteers and guests/residents. Written copies of these policies should be made available to anyone who request them or who might benefit from familiarizing or re-familiarizing themselves with them, including Employees, volunteers, and guest/residents. Cultural competent training’s on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender issues may also be an appropriate and helpful way to help everyone understand the importance of these policies to the agency’s mission and well being.
V. A commitment to Increasing Cultural Competence
MDHA will continue to assess its cultural competence in providing assistance to transgender men/women.
MDHA will continue to increase its knowledge of the transgender community through ongoing Employees and volunteer trainings.
MDHA will appoint an individual or a team of individuals to develop expertise on assisting transgender women/men who will be available to consult with other Employees about agency policies and clinical issues related to the needs and experiences of transgender guests/residents.
In addition to providing the full range of professional services made available by MDHA, transgender guests/residents will be linked with transgender community services that may better address their needs as transgender persons, and MDHA will work effectively with these community providers, utilizing a collaborating care management model.
MDHA will extend community education and outreach services to transgender guest/residents as it does to others groups of marginalized guests/residents.
VI. A Commitment to Record-Keeping and Statistics Tracking
MDHA will keep track of how many openly transgender-identified persons request and are provided our services. These statistics will include basic demographic information such as age, ethnicity, and annual income. To ensure effective information gathering, MDHA will review screening and intake procedures to make certain they are culturally competent with regard to transgender persons.

Homeless Transgender in Dallas | Is There Somewhere To Go?

According to Jay Dunn, manager of the city owned shelter the 'Bridge', in our first conversation, this question had never been a issue much less ever been asked.

But according to one employee of the Bridge that I interviewed, who stated rather matter of factly, that regardless of input from the guest on intake, Bridge Staff determined what gender to address him/her with and regardless of the resultant danger, routinely decided what facilities the guest would use to sleep and shower.

That was not be surprising to me as there was no formal written policy requiring staff training, guest awareness or facility availability for transgender people.

Since 2002 the city of Dallas has had a ordinance that requires transgender people be treated fairly in housing, employment and public accommodations. So I began attempting to establish contact with Fair Housing Office - Human Rights Compliance City of Dallas, which is tasked with enforcing this ordinance. After a month Karen Boudreaux returned my calls. She introduced herself as the city manager who "signed the checks" for the bridge. A meeting was scheduled with city managers and outreach workers, The Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance(MDHA), and the group I represent, the Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies(DTAA).

The Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance(MDHA) Bridge management was a no show, much to the chagrin of Karen Boudreaux but we held our meeting non the less.

During the meeting it was agreed that the need for a written transgender policy existed and that this issue had been addressed previously but not followed up on. There was a absence of a transgender policy after the city had taken over the bridge and contracted to the MDHA when a out of state management company, which had used it's own policy, was no longer managing the Bridge.

After repeated phone calls and emails I was later contacted by Jay Dunn, manager of the Bridge. Mr. Dunn assured me that at the bridge, regardless of the fact there was no written policy, transgender people were being treated according to city ordinance 46 and that in fact, no written policy was needed.

Mr. Dunn eventually did eventually agree to produce a written policy and did so in April 2009.

The new Bridge policy is a model of inclusiveness for transgender homeless and if the procedure is implemented, and a regiment of training is occurring, the bridge could be a safe emergency shelter for homeless transgender people.

I may soon verify that in person.

I have been living by the good graces of friends since February and am in severe financial straits due to the economic downturn. I will continue to try and find employment, write and advocate but may have to see in person if someone is............

Homeless Transgender in Dallas | Is there Somewhere safe To Go?


Dallas city ordinance 02-1506; ORDINANCE NO. 24927

Item 54.
An ordinance amending Chapter 15B of, and adding Chapter 46 to, the Dallas City Code, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in City of Dallas contracts; to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations; to provide a complaint, investigation, conciliation, and enforcement process; to provide exceptions; to define terms; and to provide a criminal penalty of not less than $200 or more than $500 - $168,706 - Financing: Currrent Funds (subject to annual appropriations - includes incremental costs of $14,988 and reallocated personnel costs of $153,718) [02-1506; ORDINANCE NO. 24927; APPROVED]

Fair Housing Office - Human Rights Compliance


Sexual Orientation – means an individual’s real or perceived orientation as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transgender.


Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (located at The Bridge) Transgender Policy

The National Gay and Lesbian Task force report : 'Transitioning our shelters: A guide to making homeless shelters safe for transgender people'

On the web

Man of Austin Death of Jennifer Gale Brings Austin’s Transgender Homeless into Spotlight

SF ChronicleShelters slowly adapt to help transgender homeless

Dallas Voice Bridge shelter puts policy on trans homeless in writing