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11th United States Secretary of Education
- Updated: April 21, 2023
—09.18.20 – Dept. of Education, led by DeVos, threatens to withhold federal funding to Connecticut schools unless they cut ties from a state athletic conference that allows transgender students to participate in sports. The $18 million was designated under a federally-approved voluntary desegregation plan, and for students from Black and Hispanic communities to attend high-performing schools outside of their neighborhoods.
—4.10.19 – During a House Education Committee hearing, DeVos acknowledged that the administration’s choice to rescind the Obama-era bathroom guidance—which added protections for transgender students—exposed trans students to additional harassment and discrimination in schools across the nation.
—3.27.19 – Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to say on the record whether or not she opposed discrimination against LGBTQ people at schools during a House subcommittee hearing on education appropriations.
—2.12.18 – The Education Department officially confirms they will not investigate or take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity,
—9.22.17 – Secretary DeVos rescinds the Obama Administration-era Title IX guidance on investigating campus sexual assault; LGBTQ students experience sexual harassment at disproportionately high rates.
—9.7.17 – Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announces that the Department of Education will roll back Obama Administration-era Title IX guidelines which protected sexual assault survivors on college and university campuses.
—6.16.17 – An obtained internal memo from the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights revealed guidelines to dismiss complaints about bathroom access filed by transgender students.
—6.15.17 – Secretary DeVos invited Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, two anti-LGBTQ organizations, to be speakers for a day-long conference hosted by the Department of Education on engaging fathers in their children’s education and welfare.
—6.15.17 – The Department of Education, under Secretary DeVos, rolled back the Office for Civil Rights’ expansive approach to investigating civil rights complaints that seek to protect LGBTQ students, and other marginalized communities, from discrimination at school.
—6.7.17 – Secretary DeVos once again refused to affirm that federal dollars will not go to private schools that internally discriminate against LGBTQ students during a Senate subcommittee hearing.
—5.24.17 – Secretary DeVos testified that states should have the option to decide whether schools that receive federal dollars can intentionally discriminate against LGBTQ students during a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
—2.28.17 – While meeting with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Secretary DeVos used tone-deaf language to describe HBCUs, saying “HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”
—2.22.17 – Encouraged by President Trump and AG Sessions Secretary DeVos allowed the Trump Administration to rollback Title IX protections for transgender students in our nation’s schools.
—The DeVos family has funded anti-LGBTQ organizations ranging from Focus on the Family, which openly advocates for so-called “conversion therapy,” to Bethany Christian Services, an adoption agency, which until March of 2021, excluded LGBTQ parents and advocated for laws that allow them to do so, and the Heritage Foundation, which strategizes against LGBTQ policy.
—DeVos’ father, Edgar Prince, is one of the founders of the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council.
—Framed marriage equality as a “coarsening of our culture” driven by “coastal elites”: “There is one party that takes millions of dollars from celebrities and elites and in turn enthusiastically embraces their values, that chuckles at or cheers the destruction of our traditions and the coarsening of our culture, and that believes it is no big deal to redefine the most fundamental institution of mankind. But fortunately, there is another party in America that recognizes marriage between one man and one woman as an institution that was created not by man, but by God. That party will not be intimidated by the coastal elites in Hollywood or Boston. That party is not ashamed to stand up for marriage.”
—More on marriage: “Republicans support traditional marriage. We support marriage between one man and one woman because that is the way God set it up and because children need a mother and a father to love and care for them.”
—Advocated strongly for the passage of a ban on marriage equality in her home state of Michigan, contributing over $200,000 to the anti-LGBTQ campaign.
—Bragged about her wealthy family’s ability to buy influence within the Republican Party: “My family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party…. I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections.”
—Sat on the board of the anti-LGBTQ Acton Institute from 1995–2005.
The GLAAD Accountability Project catalogs anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and discriminatory actions of politicians, commentators, organization heads, religious leaders, and legal figures, who have used their platforms, influence and power to spread misinformation and harm LGBTQ people.
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“People living with HIV should not be treated as violent sex offenders for the rest…