President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet is turning out to be as terrible as we all feared, and his pick for secretary of education has solidified the insanity even further. Earlier this week we learned that Trump has chosen Betsy DeVos for the position, causing panic amongst civil rights activists and the LGBT community.
Politico reports the billionaire Republican activist and her husband have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Focus on the Family, a right-wing Christian group pushes "conversion therapy" that aims to "cure" gay people. This physical and mental torture masquerading as therapy has been condemned by medical professionals across the country for one good reason: it doesn't work. The theory has been pushed by ignorant bigots who refuse to acknowledge that being gay is not a choice.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, called her ties to the Focus on the Family "most alarming."
"If Betsy DeVos is to serve as our nation's Secretary of Education, she must clarify whether she shares her family's support for this abusive practice, or if she'll pledge to work to ban it," he said.
Civil rights groups like the Human Rights Campaign are worried that DeVos will destroy the protections President Obama's administration has fought so hard to extend to gay and transgender students across the country:
The Office for Civil Rights in Obama's Education Department has pursued a number of policies heralded by civil rights and gay advocacy groups: It urged schools to extend anti-bullying policies to cover LGBT students. Using “Dear Colleague” letters, it has called on schools to allow LGBT student groups on campuses. Most recently, it cited Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex, to protect the right of transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and HIV Project, said of Obama's guidlines,"That guidance has been a life-saver for students across the country. It would be a tragedy if that guidance were rescinded.”
The right has tried to push the idea that Donald Trump is friendly to the LGBTQ community, but this couldn't be further from the truth. While he may not vocally express the same bigoted views as the much of the conservative community, the people he has chosen to surround himself speaks volumes. By appointing foes of the community to key roles on his team Trump is sending a clear message to the gay community: Donald Trump is no friend of yours.