“We follow the law as this body has defined,” DeVos claims – despite having tossed out hundreds of discrimination complaints without investigating them.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is in hot water after being grilled on Wednesday for her budget that totally eliminates funding for the Special Olympics. But there’s another issue that was yet another point of controversy for the far right wing billionaire member of President Trump’s cabinet.
“Do you think it’s all right for a school to discriminate based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity?” U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) asked the Education Secretary, as The Hill and Vox’s Aaron Rupar reported. Pocan happens to be gay.
A nervous DeVos seemed to squirm as she paused, struggling to find the words to deliver an answer to the “yes” or “no” question.
“We have laws that cover discriminatory efforts and our office for civil rights has continued to be very diligent in investigating any allegation of discrimination and will continue to do so,” she claimed, falsely, with intermittent nervous smiles.
“So is that a yes or is that a no?” Rep. Pocan again asked. “I’m trying to get a yes or no, I guess, on that.”
“We follow the law as this body has defined,” DeVos replied.
In fact, under Secretary DeVos, the Dept. of Education slammed the covers shut on hundreds of anti-LGBT – especially anti-transgender – cases, without actually or fully investigating.
“The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has begun dismissing hundreds of civil rights complaints under a new protocol that allows investigators to disregard cases that are part of serial filings or that they consider burdensome to the office,” The New York Times reported last April.
Also under DeVos, the Dept. of Education has reversed, rescinded, or gutted guidance and directives that protect the civil rights of transgender students, minority students including students of color, and students with special needs. She has also changed guidance to protect students accused of rape or sexual misconduct.
.@repmarkpocan: Do you think it’s alright for a school to discriminate based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity?
DeVOS: We have laws that cover discriminatory efforts.
POCAN: … is that a yes or no?
DeVOS: We follow the law. pic.twitter.com/z5ubS0zvt7
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 26, 2019
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Trump Administration to Allow Taxpayer-Funded Shelter Providers to Ban Homeless Transgender People, Because Jesus
The Trump Dept. of Housing and Urban Development late on Wednesday moved to roll back an Obama-era regulation that bans discrimination by taxpayer-funded shelter providers against transgender people. HUD Secretary Ben Carson wants to allow anti-transgender discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.
A statement on the HUD website filled with coded language says the proposed new rule “Returns Decision Making to Local Shelter Providers,” to allow them to “establish an admissions policy that best serves their unique communities,” and “better accommodate [the] religious beliefs of shelter providers.”
In reality, the new rule would allow taxpayers to fund anti-transgender discrimination fueled by religious-based bigotry, with the federal government’s stamp of approval.
The move comes during an out of control pandemic, amid an unstable economy, and worse-than Great Depression-era unemployment.
“This important update will empower shelter providers to set policies that align with their missions, like safeguarding victims of domestic violence or human trafficking,” Secretary Carson said in the statement.
In reality, the new rule would remove protections for one of the most vulnerable populations in America, the transgender community. At some point in their lives one in five transgender people experience homelessness.
“Transgender and gender non-binary adults are more likely than cisgender adults to experience unsheltered homelessness,” CBS News notes, adding that “according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and transgender youth ‘make up a significant portion’ of homeless youth in the U.S.”
The move is yet another example of the Trump administration’s never-ending attacks on transgender Americans.
This month marks the third anniversary of President Trump’s infamous decision to ban transgender service members from the U.S. Military, which he did without consultation with the heads of the military services, and via tweet.
Last month Trump’s Dept. of Health and Human Services rolled back Obama-era protections for transgender patients, calling them “unnecessary.”
Last year Trump’s Dept. of Justice asked the Supreme Court to rule it is legal to fire transgender workers just because they are transgender. The Court last month decided it is illegal to do so.
A Defeated Donald Trump Declares ‘We Live’ After Historic SCOTUS Ruling on LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination (Video)
President Donald Trump, whose administration lobbied the Supreme Court to deny LGBTQ people civil rights, on Monday lamented the high court’s landmark ruling that finds workplace discrimination against gay and transgender Americans is illegal.
“They’ve ruled and we live with the decision,” Trump said, defeated and somewhat sad. “We live with the decision of the Supreme Court.”
This is the first time Trump has weighed in on the historic ruling. It took him more than six hours to say anything, and he only did after being asked about it by a reporter.
The President also claimed he had read the 170+ pages decision handed down just after 10 AM Monday.
“Very powerful decision, actually,” he added. “They have so ruled.”
In 2017 Trump’s DOJ told a federal appeals court the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect “homosexuals” from discrimination.
Last year Trump Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the Supreme Court it is the opinion of the administration’s Dept. of Justice that a “plain text” reading of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect gay people in the workplace from discrimination, including firing for being gay or transgender.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled it does.
Trump, who is the most anti-LGBTQ president in American history – at least modern American history, has repeatedly refused to sign the Equality Act, which the House has already passed.
Trump, who considers himself a hero to the LGBTQ+ community, is visibly upset when asked about the landmark SCOTUS decision barring employers from discriminating on the basis of sex:
"We live with their decision."pic.twitter.com/TpktjrTvDH
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) June 15, 2020
Missouri Lawmaker Wants to Make It Easy for Parents to Sue Their Local School if Kids Are ‘Subjected To’ Anything LGBTQ
A Missouri state lawmaker is pushing a bill that would make it easy for parents to sue schools if their children are “subjected to” anything LGBTQ.
Rep. Chuck Basye wants parents to have total control over what their children see in school, even if it’s not part of the curriculum. The bill is in response to a poster a GSA – gay-straight alliance club – put up without getting approval from all the students’ parents.
Basye says the purpose of his legislation “is to give this a little bit of teeth so parents can take action if they feel that they’re not being listened to or their child is subjected to something they don’t agree with,” MissouriNet reports.
“I think the parents have a right to know what is in front of their children in public schools,” Basye told MissouriNet.. “That’s the intent of the bill, nothing more, nothing less.”
The ACLU has weighed in, and says Basye’s bill, HB 1565, goes too far.
“This is not only way too far reaching, but absolutely censorship of essentially livelihoods and existence at all,” Jay-Marie Hill, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, told MissouriNet. Hill says if the bill becomes law teachers could be responsible, and even fired, if they have a guest speaker who says something parents might disagree with.
The bill is clearly framed to focus on “instruction on human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.”
And while it says information presented to students must be “medically and factually accurate,” it also mandates that “abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relation to all sexual activity for unmarried pupils.”
Abstinence only education has been proven to not work.
Some responses to Rep. Basye’s bill from social media:
— PROMO Missouri (@PROMOMissouri) February 25, 2020
I also take so much issue with this idea that people would be denied opportunities to learn… I was a part of two bible studies that met at my public hs, it didn’t stop me from becoming gay. And I turned around represented the Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Alliance… #HB1565 #moleg
— Stephen Eisele (@stepheneisele) February 25, 2020
I am a cisgender, heterosexual woman and the mom of a (likely) cisgender, heterosexual 5th grader. I want him to have access to inclusive and comprehensive sex education. HB1565 is bad for Missouri students. #moleg
— JennyB (@JenKBernstein) February 25, 2020
Rep Baker says it’s the parents right to opt out of anything regarding the LGBT community if they disagree with it. Ok but whether you “agree with it” or not QUEER PEOPLE EXIST. We are part of history too; you can’t erase an entire community. Call him at 573-751-9781 #hb1565
— Hannah Brashers (@hannahbrashers) February 25, 2020
UPDATE: 4:56 PM –
Rep. Basye’s Democratic challenger, Adrian Plank, calls Basye’s bill “one of the most obviously discriminatory pieces of legislation that I’ve ever seen in Missouri.”
What I find inappropriate is a legislator that spends his time trying to pass bills that uses the power of the government to treat those most vulnerable like they are lesser human beings, or even worse, that they don’t exist. That they shouldn’t be considered worthy of attention. People have real problems that need solved, and this is how he chooses to spend his time.
Image via Facebook
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