Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she knew her actions would harm trans students

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said that she was aware of research showing how harmful her anti-transgender guidance two years ago was.

DeVos appeared before the civil rights subcommittee of the House Education Committee.

The subcommittee chair, Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) asked DeVos if she knew that “the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades as well as depression and anxiety for transgender students” when she reversed Obama-era guidelines that told schools that discrimination against transgender students is illegal under Title IX.

At first, DeVos dodged the question with a vague statement that the Office of Civil Rights “is committed to ensuring all students have equal access to education free from discrimination.”

Bonamici pressed DeVos: “Sorry, I would really like answer.”

“Did you know, when you rolled back the guidance, that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades as well as depression for transgender students?” Bonamici asked.

“I do know that,” DeVos said.

“But I will say again that OCR is committed to ensuring all students have access to their education free from discrimination,” she added, even though she rescinded the guidance that said that anti-transgender discrimination is illegal at the federal level.

Bonamici also asked DeVos if she was aware of “alarming levels of attempted suicide among transgender youth.”

“I am aware of that data,” she responded.

“I’m troubled by Sec. DeVos’ answers to my questions during today’s hearing,” Bonamici said in a statement she issued later.

“The Department of Education has a responsibility to protect all students, but she acknowledged that she moved forward with a plan to rollback protections for transgender students despite knowing that it would put them at risk.”

Over half of the books conservatives most want banned are about LGBTQ people

Over half of the most controversial library books in 2018 contained LGBTQ content.

Each year, the American Library Association publishes its Top Ten Most Challenged Books list, which is based on information from the media and voluntary reports to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Books are challenged when someone requests that they be removed from a library, school, or university. The American Library Association believes that as many as 97% book challenges go unreported.

Of the eleven books that got the most challenges in 2018, six were challenged because they have LGBTQ content.

Topping the list is George by Alex Gino, a novel about a transgender girl. The book was challenged because people said it was “creating confusion,” discussed transitioning, and encouraged children to clear their browser histories.

The second book on the list is Jill Twiss’s A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a book promoted by late night comedian John Oliver in which Mike Pence’s pet bunny Marlon Bundo is gay.

The third most-challenged book was the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, a children’s novel series about two fourth-grade boys. In a 2015 installment, the boys travel 30 years in the future and one of them is married to man.

The other books that were challenged because of LGBTQ content on the list were Drama by Raina Telgemeier, This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.

Several of the books weren’t just challenged – they were burned. Last year a man in Iowa was charged after burning several LGBTQ library books and broadcasting the book-burning on Facebook.


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