"Public schools are a place for all children," said Torin Hodgman, a genderqueer eighth-grader at Grand Rapids Public Museum School who wore a transgender pride flag to school in preparation for a Tuesday visit from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
The middle-schooler, who uses they/them pronouns, told
a site for several Michigan newspapers, that they wanted to make a statement and hopes DeVos will push for policies that make schools safer for transgender students. DeVos was visiting the Michigan school for a roundtable discussion.
The Trump Cabinet member, who has a history of defending "right to discriminate" policies that target LGBT students in the name of religion, was there to answer questions from students.
Hodgman prepared one: What is DeVos doing to ensure schools are safe learning environments for LGBT students and others who are questioning their gender identity?
Hodgman did not get to ask their question about the state of transgender students, so the flag, hung around their neck like a cape, did the talking as they stood beside the secretary.
\u201cI guess sometimes heroes do wear capes \nhttps://t.co/Qzr82IOr19\u201d
Under DeVos's leadership, the Department of Education
Obama-era guidelines that advised schools to let transgender and genderqueer students like Hodgman use restrooms that match their gender identity, in addition to recognizing their preferred names and pronouns. DeVos said the issues should be dealt with locally and has yet to defend the rights of LGBT children.