Betsy DeVos Denies Trans Students Basic Rights

On March 27, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos appeared before the House Appropriations Committee to answer questions about the administration’s first year in office. While I had no shortage of questions for her, one of my top priorities was asking her about her department’s failure to protect the rights of transgender students.

During the Obama administration, the Department of Education issued guidance to public schools explaining that schools should allow students to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity in accordance with basic civil rights law under Title IX.

I heard from plenty of teachers and administrators throughout Wisconsin who were either already acting in accordance with the new rule, or gladly welcomed guidance on this important issue.

However, Secretary DeVos rescinded the Obama-era guidance in 2017, robbing transgender students of rights which should be afforded to every public school student.

In February of this year, Secretary DeVos continued to discriminate against transgender students by announcing that her department would not investigate any complaints filed by transgender students who had been banned from restrooms that match their gender identity.

When this happened, I couldn’t help but think of Ashton Whitaker, a young man from my home town of Kenosha, Wisconsin, who is currently a first year student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2016, Ashton rightly challenged his school to allow him to use the restroom consistent with his gender identity. Courts affirmed that forcing this young man to use the wrong restroom constituted illegal discrimination on the basis of sex.

In 2018, we should not need a refresher on basic discrimination. Rescinding someone’s rights, which have been upheld in court, on the basis of their gender identity is wrong. Refusing to listen to complaints from a certain population of students is wrong.

Secretary DeVos has consistently shown her willful ignorance when failing to visit underperforming schools, as well as her mean-spirited, anti-LGBT views when denying rights to certain students. At some point, she should realize that as Secretary of Education, she is supposed to represent all students, not just a select few.

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Seatnai

DeVos = bigot

I am God

She is not here to represent all students, nor even a select few, she is here to promote her myopic biblical view of the world.

Anonymous

Is this really the top issue in education - I think not!

Anonymous

Human rights are the biggest issue. Discrimination cannot be allowed. Allowing people to feel safe and welcome is important, more so for children in an education setting.

Anonymous

Betsy and Brother Eric Prince have the same innate ability to hurt people. Neither one is capable of compassion and both are deeply into white evangelicalism's pathetic human rights failures on so many fronts.

Anonymous

DeVoss is a full blown rich idiot - buys her way into a position she knows NOTHING about!

Anonymous

My daughter is not going to use a public restroom, or locker room (especially locker room) with someone she knows is a biological boy. When she got to the age of 6 she suddenly became so modest that she won't even change in front of me. I doubt she, and most of just-as-modest friends will be getting over that anytime soon. You are trying to deny me daughter, and other girls exhibiting absolutely modesty, the right to use the facilities that 2nd wave feminists won for them via Title IV.

Anonymous

So here's the problem. First of all trans women and girls are women and girls and deserve the dignity of being treated as such. Secondly I have a close friend who is a transgender man (female to male transition) and he has a beard and chest hair. By saying that trans people don't have the right to use the correct bathroom you are saying my friend, who is clearly male, should use the female bathroom. Would your daughter be comfortable changing in a locker room or using a bathroom with someone who has a beard and chest hair? I think she'd rather a trans woman use her locker room than that. In moments when my friend has been forced to use the ladies room it has caused a commotion because women are uncomfortable with seeing someone who is so clearly male in their bathroom.
Also your daughter will be fine. If you model to her that trans people are normal and fine and that transgender women are women too than she will follow. Kids aren't inherently transphobic, if she's expressing such feelings she's probably getting it from you. Isn't the primary job of a parent to teach your children to be kind? At the very least I try to teach my kids to be polite and accepting of others. It's interesting to me that you don't teach your kids that.

Anonymous

Your friend's female body grew a beard and chest hair in response to hormones she is taking. If I took those hormones my female body would react the same way and I would still be female. When your friend can produce sperm THEN she will have acheived a functioning male body. Frankly, if someone intentionally mutilayes there body in a way the makes children uncomfortable that is their problem -- not my child's.

Pmb1

The previous comment is absolutely correct: trans women and girls are just that- women and girls. They are not men posing as women and they are no more interested in looking at your daughter than she is in looking at them. They use the bathroom just like other women- go into the stall, take care of business, wash hands, touch up lipstick and leave. My trans daughter is extremely modest as well and would look as out of place in a men’s room as your daughter would. Your daughter is being denied nothing except a lesson in kindness and acceptance of those who may be different from her. Europeans have been using unisex restrooms since forever with no issues. Americans are just a little late to this party, but we’re getting there. And, in fact, you have been in restrooms with trans women, you just didn’t know it.
PS: Title IV REFERS TO FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID FUNDS.
TITLE IX: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program. President Obama rightfully upheld this with his guidance on use of school restrooms by trans students in accordance with their gender identity.

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