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  5. A conservative group is suing to stop a San Francisco basic income program that gives 55 struggling trans residents $1,200 a month

A conservative group is suing to stop a San Francisco basic income program that gives 55 struggling trans residents $1,200 a month

Kenneth Niemeyer   

A conservative group is suing to stop a San Francisco basic income program that gives 55 struggling trans residents $1,200 a month
  • A conservative group is suing San Francisco over a guaranteed basic income program for trans people.
  • The GIFT program provides $1,200 monthly payments to 55 trans individuals in the city.

A conservative activist group is suing officials in San Francisco to block a guaranteed basic income program that gives no-strings-attached cash to a small group of low-income trans people.

San Francisco's Guaranteed Income for Trans People (GIFT) program provides 55 people with monthly, no-strings-attached payments of $1,200. The initiative accepts trans, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, and intersex applicants and prioritizes those who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color.

The city requires participants to complete a survey every three months to stay in the program, but they don't have to report their spending.

A representative for the city's Transgender District, the world's first legally recognized neighborhood that works to empower its trans residents, told KQED, a local public radio station, that many trans people in San Francisco struggle with poverty and discrimination, which makes it more difficult to find employment. The GIFT program is designed to help trans people support themselves and "have a little bit more ease with their finances," the spokesperson said.

Judicial Watch, a conservative legal activist group, filed the lawsuit against San Francisco Mayor London Breed and other city officials in January. It argues that the GIFT Program violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution because it provides "preferential treatment" when choosing candidates for payment.

Judicial watch routinely files similar lawsuits all over the country. In 2022, the group successfully challenged a California law requiring diversity on corporate boards.

There are numerous basic income programs across the country targeting specific low-income groups. Most offer no-strings-attached monthly cash payments between $500 and $1,000 or more. Studies have found recipients use the payments to catch up on bills, pay off debt, and pay for housing and food.

Yet some conservatives across the county are challenging the constitutionality of such basic income programs.

In Texas, a Republican state senator asked the state attorney general to declare a Houston-area basic income program unconstitutional in January. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt pointed to a section of the Texas constitution that says the state legislature can not give any county the power to grant public money to aid an individual.

Judicial Watch's attack on the GIFT program is only the latest attack from conservatives against San Francisco's basic income programs. In November, the American Civil Rights Project, a conservative public interest law firm, sued the city over several guaranteed income plans.

That lawsuit argues the Abundant Birth Project, a basic income plan in the city that gives pregnant Black women $1,000 a month, is discriminatory because it uses taxpayer money to provide the payments based on unlawful classifications, such as race.

A representative for San Francisco city attorney David Chiu told The Bay Area Reporter that the city denies the GIFT program and Abundant Birth Project are unlawful.

"We look forward to discussing these matters further in court," Chui's office told the outlet.


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