Betsy DeVos, the US education secretary, should “butt out” of trans teen’s lives and the sports they play, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said Monday (21 September).
The Democratic party lawmaker and business leader tore into DeVos during a news conference, OutSports reported, amid the dust-up of DeVos threatening to sequester $18 million in federal funding to several magnet schools in the state unless they withdraw from a pro-trans athletic conference.
The department’s Office for Civil Rights, which in this case, are making it loud and clear it does not care for, well, people’s rights, warned officials at three Connecticut schools that it will not release the 1 October desegregation grants unless the district cuts ties with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.
Officials with the conference, which governs high school athletics in the state, stress that their policies conform to state law.
“We are going to stand up and fight against discrimination,” Lamont said. Adding that he hopes “the federal government would just butt out on this subject.”
“The idea that they’re going to come in, the federal government, and politicize a tough, versatile situation six weeks before an election? I just find that shocking,” he added.
‘The federal government is trying to force us to take a side against transgender individuals.’
With the Department’s lionised desegregation programme clashing with the administration’s erosion of trans rights, the loss of the grants, which have been distributed by department officials across four years, would have seismic ramifications for the state’s Black and Hispanic communities.
The desegregation grants were drawn-up to for districts in New Haven, Hartford and southeast Connecticut to fund young people of colour to attend magnet schools. The schools offer rigorous, more specialised curriculums.
In denying the schools the crucial financial lifeline, district officials have compared the administration’s forceful hewn of trans youth’s rights to “extortion”, New Haven’s mayor, Justin Elicker, said to the New York Times.
“The federal government is trying to force us to take a side against transgender individuals.”
DeVos has long been a lightning rod for criticism levelled by the LGBT+ community. Under her leadership, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Right was less likely to offer relief to queer students discriminated against.
Only weeks after Donald Trump took office, the Education and Justice Departments rescinded an Obama-era guidance document that informed schools that denying trans students access to the bathrooms that match their gender identity violated federal law.
And in the Department’s latest salvos against the LGBT+ community, it stated that allowing trans girls to compete in sports is a violation of Title IX, a 1972 law that prohibits sex discrimination in programs that receive federal funding.