Feeling uncertain on where she stands on the issue, LGBT employees directly asked new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to commit to protecting queer youth.
A letter was sent to DeVos on Wednesday, according to PBS, where DeVos was asked about Title IX, the 1972 educational amendment banning sex discrimination in school programs. Under President Obama, the nation's public schools interpreted Title IX to be inclusive of transgender students, meaning the ban on gender discrimination included a ban on gender identity discrimination.
“At a time when students and individuals across the nation are being targeted with overtly discriminatory treatment, our nation needs you to remind and empower students about their right to equal access to education,” the employees wrote. “We look forward to partnering with you in this very important work and hope that as a ‘door open type of person,’ you will open your office to hear from both your LGBTQ staff and the LGBTQ families our Department serves.”
The Education Department hasn't responded as of yet. DeVos's billionaire family has financially contributed to numerous anti-LGBT organizations and she is a proponent of private, charter, and religious schools. DeVos herself has not been quoted as saying anything inherently homophobic or transphobic and promised during her bumbling confirmation hearings to combat discrimination. Still, organizations like the American Federation of Teachers have clearly said DeVos is a threat to LGBT youth.
Another cause for concern is that President Trump's Justice Department backed away from fighting an injunction preventing it from enforcing pro-trans guidance in schools.