Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will not lift a finger to help transgender kids
Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has taken a resolute stance against transgender children.
DeVos has rolled back Obama-era protections for transgender children, and earlier this year directed the Department of Education to stop investigating allegations of discrimination against transgender kids who have been banned from restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender.
The Trump cabinet member was challenged over her policy during a House Appropriations subcommittee this week, where she was challenged by Rep. Mark Pocan.
In her response, DeVos confirmed that the department will limit any action against discrimination to a literal reading of discrimination law, which states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be subjected to discrimination under any education program”.
While the Obama administration had taken a proactive interpretation of this to also tackle homophobic and transphobic discrimination, DeVos stated she would not do so unless directed to by Congress.
She said: “We have continued to protect the rights of students as defined under Title IX, we have continued to do so, and consider those matters brought through the Office for Civil Rights.
“We will continue to do so until either the Supreme Court or Congress clarifies the law with regards to access to bathrooms, athletic locker rooms and athletic teams.
“That is not an area where law has been clarified. This department is not going to make law, we are going to enforce laws that we are given to do.”
The comments have been slammed by LGBT activists.
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said: “As Secretary DeVos fumbles through another congressional hearing, her record of walking-back LGBTQ protections and actively refusing to aid transgender students facing discrimination speaks for itself.
“It is long past time for Secretary DeVos to reverse course and clearly denounce policies that target LGBTQ students. Our Secretary of Education should be fighting for all students, not actively making life more difficult for transgender students.”
DeVos was only confirmed to her post last year after Vice President Mike Pence broke a tie in the Senate.
Betsy DeVos, the mega-rich daughter of billionaire Prince Corporation founder Edgar Prince and daughter-in-law of Amway billionaire Dick DeVos, had no experience in education prior to taking on the role.
She has faced a bitterly contested confirmation battle over her lack of policy knowledge and her radical views opposing public education. DeVos also faced accusations of lying during her confirmation hearing – after claiming her 13 years as VP of a charitable trust that funded anti-gay activism was a “clerical error”.
During her confirmation hearing DeVos denied having any authority within her family’s Prince Foundation, which gave more than $10 million sent Focus On the Family, a Christian group that advocates gay ‘cure’ therapy.
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Pushed in the hearing, she had insisted a statement listing her as the foundation’s vice president was “a clerical error”.
The Intercept later alleged that she directly “lied to the Senate”, revealing that Prince Foundation tax filings show she was listed as vice president of the foundation for 13 years, dating from 2001 to 2013. The Washington Post also confirmed a long paper trail documenting DeVos’s involvement in the foundation.
In addition to its funding for gay ‘cure’ supporters Focus on the Family, the Prince Foundation also poured $6.1 million into Family Research Council, which is listed as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Incredibly, her confirmation was supported by the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans who claim to advocate for LGBT rights within the GOP.
Within months of helping to lobby for her confirmation, the Log Cabin Republicans were protesting her anti-LGBT actions.