Sarah Perry, an activist who worked for an anti-LGBT+ hate group, has been placed in charge of diversity and inclusion efforts at the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
Trump education secretary Betsy DeVos, known for gutting protections for transgender children and pressuring school districts to drop pro-LGBT policies, has picked Perry to take control of diversity and inclusion within the OCR. The office enforces civil rights laws in K-12 schools and universities, HuffPost reports.
Perry has a long history of anti-transgender activism and has worked at the Family Research Council (FRC), which is listed as an anti-LGBT+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to its long record of seeking to undermine LGBT+ rights, conflating homosexuality and paedophilia, and likening transgender people to a “cult”.
The new Department of Education official, who is listed as FRC’s former director of partnerships and coalitions coordinator, took part in an anti-trans rally outside the Supreme Court in October 2019, as the group lobbied against civil rights protections for workers fired for being transgender.
Speaking alongside activists from the anti-LGBT group Concerned Women for America, a fundamentalist group that has previously claimed that “gay marriage entices children to experiment with homosexuality”, Perry lashed out at “transgender supremacy” and said that affirming transgender kids is “like cutting off the leg of someone who believes they are an amputee”.
She said: “By ignoring underlying conditions, the demands of transgender supremacy marginalize our unique kids, especially those with autism and mental health diagnoses.”
According to HuffPost, Perry had also praised the department’s efforts in pressing for policies excluding transgender students from sport, raising the notion of “providing a separate transgender league for these individuals” to “protect biological girls”.
Sarah Perry appointment ironic, say Department of Education staff.
Sarah Perry’s appointment has caused disquiet inside the Department of Education, according to HuffPost, with employees suggesting that “appointing someone who has actively worked against LGBTQ people to help lead diversity and inclusion efforts is ironic and disheartening”.
A department spokesperson has insisted that “diversity and inclusion remains a top priority for OCR’s leadership”.
In September, the OCR was accused of “effectively extorting” school districts in Connecticut because they won’t exclude trans students from sports.
The New York Times reported that the Trump administration had threatened to pull desegregation grants from three school districts unless they break ties with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference — the governing body for high school athletics in the state.
The removal of the desegregation funding could have a devastating impact for Black students in the area.