Trump’s education secretary designate is controversial to say the least.
Not only does she support bringing guns to school, she also funds anti-LGBT causes and groups and promotes using “conversation therapy” which allegedly changes someone’s natural sexual orientation — a practice that has been repeatedly rejected by mainstream medicine. This is concerning for some people because as Secretary of Education, it places doubt on her ability to protect vulnerable students from harassment, including those belonging to the LGBTQ community.
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) is also one of the people who have let his disapproval of DeVos appointment known.
On Tuesday, Franken asked DeVos one of the most pressing questions related to the LGBTQ community in a Senate hearing.
“Mrs. DeVos, your family has a long history of supporting anti-LGBT causes including donating millions of dollars to groups that push conversion therapy, the practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” Franken began. “For example, you and your family have given over $10 million to Focus On the Family, an organization that currently states on its website that, ‘homosexual strugglers can and do change their sexual behavior and identity.’”
“Mrs. DeVos, conversion therapy has been widely discredited and rejected for decades by every mainstream medical and mental health organization as neither medically nor ethically appropriate,” the senator continued. “It has been shown to lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide, particularly in LGBT youth. In fact, many of the leaders and founders of conversion therapy, including both religious ministries and mental health professionals, have not only publicly renounced it but have issued formal apologies for their work and how harmful it has been to the individuals involved. Mr. Chairman, I would ask that this be included in the record.”
“Mrs. DeVos, do you still believe in conversion therapy?” he asked.
However, she still maintained the fact that she never believed in it.
“I fully embrace equality, and I believe in the innate value of every single human being, and that all students, no matter their age, should be able to attend a school and feel safe, and be free of discrimination,” she said.
However, her past anti-LGBTQ support belie her words. DeVos’s family has donated more than $200 million dollar to far-right Christian organizations who condemn homosexuality. DeVos and her husband supported the Acton Institute, yet another anti-LGBTQ conservative group.
Other people have also trouble believing DeVos’ claims as well.
Betsy DeVos is lying. Her mother and other family members have given enormous sums of money to attack the rights of LGBTQ people.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) January 17, 2017
Spoke with Betsy DeVos. She couldn't believe my public school cafeteria didn't offer chocolate milk or gay conversion therapy. #DeVosHearing— Mike Bauman (@mikey_bauman) January 18, 2017
It’s no wonder critics are concerned, as education secretary, DeVos might undo all the LGBTQ progress made under President Obama’s administration. Even after all the good done in eight years, LGBTQ children suicide rate is still four times more than the rate of straight kids. Under DeVos, the figure has the potential to become much worse.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters