New HRC Video Features Parent of Transgender Child: “My Kid Was Afraid To Be [In School]”

by Wyatt Ronan

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is launching its final video in a weekly series on Trump’s failure to keep LGBTQ people safe. Today’s installment highlights hate and anti-LGBTQ policies fueled by the Trump campaign and later the administration, threatening the safety and security of so many LGBTQ students. The video features Tuscon, Arizona mom Deborah Fernandez-Turner and her transgender child Ari, who talk about what the Trump administration’s rhetoric and actions have done to threaten Ari’s sense of safety at school.

“The safety and security of all students should be a top priority for any administration, but under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration, the rollback of protections for LGBTQ people — especially protections for transgender students — has been unprecedented. In order to learn and develop, students must feel safe and welcome. Between an uptick in hate crimes, discriminatory policies, and a refusal to simply acknowledge the pain of and hate perpetrated against LGBTQ people, the Trump administration has failed to keep this community safe. That’s why it’s imperative for the safety, security, and the very lives of LGBTQ people that we elect Joe Biden as our next president.”

Alphonso David., Human Rights Campaign President

Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a key figure in the Trump administration’s systematic rollback of Obama-era policies that protect LGBTQ youth from discrimination in schools. Despite LGBTQ youth being more susceptible and more likely to be shaped by negative experiences, DeVos has shown no remorse for her attacks on LGBTQ students making it clear that the Trump-DeVos Department of Education does not prioritize protecting all students from harm.

Here are some of the Trump administration’s most dangerous actions and threats to students under the failed and dangerous leadership of Betsy DeVos:

  • Under the direction of DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, within days of taking office, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice revoked the Obama Administration’s guidance detailing schools’ obligations to transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
  • In Sept. 2017, DeVos withdrew vital Title IX guidance related to schools' obligations to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence. LGBTQ people are overrepresented among survivors of sexual violence
  • DeVos rescinded guidance protecting students from discrimination in the application of school discipline as part of her new Federal Commission on School Safety. Schools are explicitly prohibited from discriminating against students based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identiy), religion or disability.
  • DeVos named anti-LGBTQ extremist Sarah Perry as the co-chair of the new Diversity and Inclusion Council. Sarah Perry has a long history of statements and activism against LGBTQ people and transgender people in particular, as a former employee of the Family Research Council, an organization that has been designated a hate group for its anti-LGBTQ agenda.

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