AVP Action Brief: We’re Watching You, Devos

Our AVP Action Brief  tracks actions of the Trump administration that impact our communities’ safety and rights and offers concrete steps that we can take to stand up for safety and justice. We are here for you and we are in this together.

We’re watching you, DeVos

This afternoon, Betsy DeVos was confirmed for Secretary of Education after a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. DeVos, whose family foundation has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ organizations that support conversion therapy, is dangerously unqualified for the position of Secretary of Education. During her confirmation hearing, she didn’t understand that students with disabilities are protected by federal law; when asked about Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination in schools based on sex and gender identity, she said it would be “premature” to uphold a 2011 rule that requires colleges to take an active role in preventing sexual assault.

In Trump’s cabinet, DeVos is responsible for ensuring that LGBTQ students are safe and free from harassment. She now has the ability to overturn the protections for transgender students enacted during the Obama administration. We must hold DeVos and all who voted for her accountable at every step to protect public schools, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, and student survivors of violence. In the coming months, we will be watching the policy that comes out of the Department of Education, and we will be prepared to take action against any rollbacks of protections for our nation’s LGBTQ and other vulnerable youth.

Here’s what you can do.

  • AVP offers free trainings to schools, educators and community groups around LGBTQ competence and anti-violence issues. Request a training here, and share this information with any educators you know!
  • Engage on a local level with your community’s schools to defend education for all. There are leadership opportunities for parents, including joining the school board, and you can call or write to your local superintendent to show your support—here’s where you can find the contact information for NYC superintendents at elementary, middle, and high schools.
  • Attend and share info about our free LGBTQ Legal Clinics focused on immigration, ID and document change and more.
  • Sign up for AVP’s Speaker’s Bureau and add your story to the resistance!
  • Call your senator at (877) 959-6082 and continue to tell them not to confirm Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Tweet at your senator using the hashtag #StopSessions.
  • Report LGBTQ or HIV-related violence that you experience or witness online or to AVP’s 24-hour English/Spanish hotline at (212) 714-1141.
  • Forward this email to a friend. Ask them to sign up for the AVP Action Brief to stay informed and activated, too.

Further reading:
Salon: Donald Trump’s Presidency is a Grave Threat to LGBT Students and Betsy DeVos is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Washington Blade: Despite Concern Over Anti-LGBT Donations, DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary
NPR: Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary