Donald Trump has added another anti-LGBTI member to his cabinet.
Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, has been picked to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Initially running for president himself, Carson was among the first people to endorse Trump after he himself withdrew from the electoral race.
In a statement about Carson’s appointment, Trump called him ‘a brilliant mind’ and said he was ‘passionate about strengthening communities and families within the communities’.
For the past two years, Carson has used a strong anti-LGBTI rhetoric, comparing same-sex marriage to bestiality and said LGBTI people are ‘abnormal’.
He doesn’t believe marriage equality is a civil right, that it is inconsistent with his religious beliefs and said judges who ruled in favor should be fired.
The former surgeon also believes homosexuality is a choice and, in 2015, claimed prisons make people gay.
He later apologized for the statement, but never overtly said he doesn’t believe homosexuality is a choice, or renounced dangerous ‘gay cure’ therapies.
In the US, an estimated 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTI, according to Human Rights Campaign.
Social Solutions quote the number of homeless LGBTI teens as 110,000 – and Ben Carson is now responsible for them, too.
‘The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is charged with enforcing the US fair housing laws,’ said HRC President Chad Griffin.
‘That could prove challenging given that Ben Carson doesn’t even believe LGBTQ people exist.’
In a statement, Griffin said Carson’s views ‘could have disastrous effects’ on the LGBTI community.
‘As a community already faced with housing insecurity, we need an ally, not an agitator, who will protect every American’s right to a safe place to lie down each night.’
During his campaign, Carson voiced his support for the right to discriminate law, introduced by Vice President-elect Mike Pence while he was still Governor of Indiana, and even joked about gay couples receiving poisoned wedding cakes.
‘So they can go right down the street and buy a cake, but no, let’s bring a suit against this person because I want them to make my cake even though they don’t believe in it,’ he said at the 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit, a far-right gathering.
‘Which is really not all that smart, because they might put poison in that cake.’
Carson also called trans people ‘the height of absurdity’ and compared being trans to changing ethnicities.