Trump Education Secretary claims trans rights protections were ‘very huge overreach’
Trump’s Education Secretary has defended the decision to axe federal rights protections for transgender children.
This week the Trump administration confirmed it had reversed a policy put in place by the Obama administration that extended civil rights laws to cover transgender kids.
Obama officials had extended the interpretation of Title IX civil rights provisions, which have outlawed discrimination based on sex since 1972, to also protect gender identity.
This week Trump scrapped the Obama administration guidance, with his Press Secretary Sean Spicer explaining “certain issues like this are not best dealt with at the federal level” – giving a boost to states that want to pass anti-trans laws.
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference last night, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the discrimination protections had been a “very huge” example of “overreach” under Obama.
She said: “This issue was a very huge example of the Obama administration overreach, to suggest a one size fits all government top-down approach to issues that are best dealt with and solved at a personal level and a local level.
“I have made clear from the moment I’ve been in this job that it’s our job to protect students and do that to the fullest extent that we can, and also to provide students’ parents and teachers with more flexibility around how education is delivered.”
DeVos agreed to implement Trump’s anti-trans policy demand this week despite claiming in her confirmation hearing that she would continue existing protections.
Asked whether she would protect LGBT students during her confirmation hearing, she said: “Every student deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment where they can learn, achieve and thrive and are not discriminated against. Period.”
It’s not the first time DeVos has faced accusations of misleading the Senate during her confirmation.
The Trump official also faced accusations of lying during her confirmation hearing after claiming her affiliation with a charitable trust that funded anti-gay activism was a “clerical error”.
After she made the claim, The Intercept alleged she “lied to the Senate”, revealing that tax filings show she was a vice president of the controversial foundation for 13 years, dating from 2001 to 2013.