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Betsy DeVos & Our LGBT Kids

By Charlotte Robinson, January 17, 2017
Betsy DeVos is scheduled to begin her confirmation hearing Tuesday as Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education. This is another one of Trump’s homophobic nominations that could really escalate LGBT bullying incidents in our schools. DeVos & her family have been huge contributors to national & local efforts to ban marriage equality, raising questions about the Trump’s administration’s treatment of LGBT students. Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California stated, “All students should be able to attend school in a safe learning environment free from discrimination, harassment & a lack of acceptance. Bullied LGBT students, particularly those who do not conform to traditional gender norms, are at high risk. They fall behind in school, drop out, and attempt suicide at far higher rates than their non-LGBT peers.” Randi Weingarten, a lesbian & president of the American Federation of Teachers stated, “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud & clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding & destroying public education in America. DeVos has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools. The sum total of her involvement has been spending her family’s wealth in an effort to dismantle public education in Michigan. Every American should be concerned that she would impose her reckless & extreme ideology on the nation.” Everyone needs to contact their U.S. Senators to carefully examine DeVos views on challenges facing LGBT students, including bullying, access to school bathrooms, other facilities & programs for transgender students.
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1 comment:

Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director said...

Today’s confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos was not nearly long enough for the thorough discussion our children’s education requires. Short as it was, it raised a lot of additional deeply troubling issues of grave concern to all parents. While we are relieved to hear DeVos rejecting the dangerous and thoroughly discredited practice of conversion therapy her family has previously supported, it was chilling to hear DeVos dodge questions about whether she would keep essential protections for transgender students, and basically refer all other civil rights protections for students with disabilities, students of color, and religious minority students “back to the states.

We’ve seen where that leads, and we know that all students require more protection if we are to be a country that provides meaningful opportunity to all children. There are too many questions still to be answered. Children’s lives depend on it; the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth depend on it. It is shameful to shut this hearing down before American parents have a chance to hear and understand what Betsy DeVos would do as our Secretary of Education. If this is all the hearing we’re going to get, then we must oppose. Conversion therapy is not the only issue of concern for LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth come from many communities and have many identities – identities that U.S. civil rights law is designed to protect.

We cannot leave their educations and their futures to chance. We must demand that the nation's Secretary of Education serve the interests of all students, including providing protections and safety for the most marginalized among us: LGBTQ students, students of color, students with disabilities, and female students, among others.

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