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Trump administration takes up ‘civil rights’ complaint from anti-LGBT group

Nick Duffy August 12, 2019
US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Us Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has launched a “civil rights” probe over a trans-inclusive policy at Connecticut high schools, after a complaint filed by anti-LGBT campaigners.

The US Department of Education confirmed in a letter dated August 7 that it had taken up a complaint, which was filed by anti-LGBT lobbying group Alliance Defending Freedom.

The evangelical lobbying group, which has backed a multitude of legal challenges targeting LGBT+ people across the US, filed a complaint on behalf of two anonymous students challenging the trans-inclusive policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

The complaint alleged that allowing trans students to compete in high school sports “based on their gender identification” is tantamount to discrimination against girls.

‘Civil rights’ office to take up complaint from anti-LGBT group

Department of Education official Adrienne Mundy-Shephard said the Office for Civil Rights would take up the complaint and investigate “whether the CIAC and the District have denied equal athletic benefits and opportunities to girls… through the Transgender Participation Policy.”

The department will also take up the group’s claims that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference had “retaliated” against unnamed families who had complained about the trans-inclusive policy.

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos took up the civil rights complaint, but will not help trans children
US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos took up the civil rights complaint, but will not help trans children (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The decision to take up the case comes despite the Trump-era Office for Civil Rights maintaining a policy of rejecting discrimination complaints filed on behalf of transgender students.

In March, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she would not launch any discrimination probes on behalf of LGBT+ children unless new laws are imposed by Congress, in a reversal of an Obama-era stance.

She said: “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.”

Challenge is about equality for girls, claim anti-abortion lobbyists

Alliance Defending Freedom, which has also extensively litigated against access to women’s healthcare, claims: “Allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women.”

Legal counsel Christiana Holcomb claimed: “Forcing [girls] to compete against boys makes them spectators in their own sports, which is grossly unfair and destroys their athletic opportunities.

“For that reason, we are pleased that OCR has agreed to investigate.

“Title IX is a federal law that was designed to eliminate discrimination against women in education and athletics, and women fought long and hard to earn the equal athletic opportunities that Title IX provides.”

More: anti lgbt, Civil Rights, Trump

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