Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Education, has had several conversations with a Senator who wants her to gut critical protections for young LGBTQ people, according to Politico.
“(DeVos) has had several phone conversations with Republican Sen. James Lankford about reining in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights,” Politico reported. “Lankford stressed to DeVos that there are areas that he sees as federal overreach — like the Education Department’s position that Title IX offers explicit protections for transgender students.”
Last May, the U.S. Department of Education offered guidance to schools clarifying that transgender students have the right to be free from discrimination in schools, including the ability to use gender-separated facilities (such as restrooms and locker rooms) that match their gender identity. This guidance follows similar policies in states and school districts across the country, including many that have been treating transgender students with dignity and respect for more than a decade.
DeVos’ family foundation, The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, as well as her own foundation, The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, have funded major anti-LGBTQ organizations and campaigns.
DeVos’ confirmation hearing will be held next week. Senator must ask her about how she will ensure LGBTQ students are safe and treated with respect in our nation’s schools. She should also make clear whether she shares her family’s support for conversation therapy programs that harm LGBTQ youth.