Salvation Army Refuses Shelter to Transgender Woman


Jodielynn Wiley — a transgender woman from Paris, Texas (pictured above) — has filed a discrimination complaint against the Salvation Army-run Carr P. Collins Social Service Center in Dallas after the center allegedly refused to place Wiley into a 2-year housing program unless she had gender reassignment surgery.

The Dallas Voice reports:

Wiley said her counselor chimed in about there being a waiting list for the same program, but Wiley questioned that because two women who arrived at the shelter after she did had already been placed in the program.

“They then tried to say there’s a waiting list,” Wiley said.

Nell Gaither, president of Trans Pride Initiative, sat in on the meeting by phone. She said she explained to the women they were “requiring a special condition that they wouldn’t require of another person.”

Blake Fetterman, operations director at Carr P. Collins Social Service Center, said the complaint is a surprise because of the Salvation Army’s own nondiscrimination policy.

“What you describe is not in keeping with our nondiscrimination policies,” she said. “Clients receive services and placement with their self-identified gender.”

Dallas’ nondiscrimination ordinance forbids discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations. According to The Dallas Voice, Fair Housing spokesman Calvin McAllister pledged to investigate Wiley’s complaint, though the parties involved have not yet been been notified of the investigation process.

However, John Wright of Lone Star Q notes:

Although this exception may come into play, I’d suggest Wiley’s complaint also faces another major obstacle: The Salvation Army is a religious organization, and religious organizations are exempt from Dallas’ nondiscrimination ordinance…

Even if the city of Dallas were to decide that the Salvation Army is not a religious organization, the Salvation Army likely would have an affirmative defense against Wiley’s complaint under Texas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And even if a Texas court were to rule that it doesn’t have an affirmative defense, the Salvation Army would face a maximum fine of $500.

In the meanwhile, Wiley is staying with another Dallas metroplex trans woman through Dallas Trans* Shared Housing Project.


  1. Gorgeous says

    Word to the wise: don’t support the Salvation Army or their franchise, the Good Will stores.

  2. Javier says

    The SA does not view the person as a woman, as most Americans reasonably do not. They are not denying her shelter, they are saying that if you want shelter, it has to be in accordance with your birth sex, unless you complete gender reassignment surgery. I see no problem with that. If you want shelter from them, then their rules and viewpoint on gender identity applies. If you disagree, find shelter from a place with your view on gender identity. The SA is a charity, and you can’t hijack them in a way that violates their core sacred religious beliefs.

  3. Critifur says

    @Gorgeous Goodwill is not a franchise of, nor associated with The Salvation Army. Goodwill is also not a religious organization. I work for Goodwill in a program that provides permanent housing for the homeless which is funded by profits from our resale stores. We would not turn anyone away for being transgender. Please keep you uninformed opinion to yourself.

  4. Randy says

    Critifur is right.

    Goodwill is a secular organization. (It’s historical roots are in a Methodist ministry.) It’s unrelated to the Salvation Army church.

  5. Mike says

    In Toronto, 3 women were raped in a women’s shelter when a man was allowed into the shelter by claiming to be trans. The law did not allow the shelter to take any steps to verify the man’s claims. Some guy with a beard and a penis shows up and says that he is a woman, and thanks to trans activists and their insane views on gender, the shelter was forced to accept his statement at face value. They had to let him in, and 3 women – who were at the shelter to escape male violence – were horribly abused as a result.

    There are real victims of trans activism. Although I am no fan of the SA, I support them in their decision.

  6. Thedrdonna says

    @Mike: those women are victims of a predator. You can’t blame trans folks for that any more than you can blame gay people for a criminal who pretends to be gay on grindr so they can rob people. What that predator did is still illegal, and hopefully he spends a very long time behind bars for what he did.

  7. Javier says

    Bullies? There is no entitlement to charity. If you disagree with their policy, find a charity that is in accordance with your views.

  8. Thedrdonna says

    Yes, Javier, because when you are homeless, jobless, and have been chased out of town by death threats, it turns out you’ve got a multitude of options to choose from. The poor aren’t systematically disadvantaged, they’re just smothered by all the charities trying to give them free room and board, and jobs to boot!

  9. Mike says

    TheDrDonna –

    I am *not* blaming any trans person for the 3 rapes. The rapist was not trans.

    But trans activists do bear the blame for foisting on the women of Toronto and the women’s shelter the situation in which they can no longer make a reasonable assessment of gender based on appearance and/or body parts. In order to satisfy trans activists’ own ideas about gender being all in the mind, the shelter wasn’t allowed to stop this cis male predator from gaining access to the shelter once he declared himself to be a woman. It wasn’t allowed to ask for medical records or a doctor’s note or anything else to verify his claim. And once he was allowed in, the shelter couldn’t do anything to limit his movement or to monitor him beyond what it does for other residents. Even if the guy was 6 ft tall, 250 pounds of muscle, beard and a 100% male anatomy, the shelter would have no choice but to accept his declaration that he was a woman and treat him the same as all the other women residents, or else face liability for “gender identity and expression” discrimination.

    Trans activists created these crazy legal rules and so bear indirect responsibility when those rules result in tragedy.

  10. Thedrdonna says

    Legal protections for trans people are not legal sanctions for predators. Trans people are not to blame for the actions of criminals.

  11. Scar2 says

    I would just like to add that not all Salvation Army organizations are the same. I work for Salvation Army in Vancouver, Canada & I can tell you this can never happen here. The Salvation Army here is very LGBT friendly. Yes, it’s Christian-based, but the majority of workers & Clients are not religious. Those who seek help with us are given the options to practice religion but it’s not forced upon them. The workers get training on how to work with LGBT Clients and there are many LGBT employees in the organization. We even offer workshops on working with transgendered individuals. I know Salvation Army has a bad reputation in many parts of the world, but it’s not true anymore in Canada.