Trump Education Secretary urged not to axe protections for LGBT kids

Trump’s Education Secretary has been urged to keep anti-discrimination protections for LGBT children.

Officials within the Education Department last week penned a letter to newly-confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, concerning civil rights rules that prevent discrimination.

The Obama administration had sought to expand existing protections for women and ethnic minorities in education – redirecting Title IX provisions outlawing discrimination based on sex to also protect sexual orientation and gender identity

In an email to DeVos obtained by Associated Press, the Trump official was urged to maintain the Department’s support for tackling anti-LGBT discrimination.

The letter, sent by a number of LGBT staffers, says: “At a time when students and individuals across the nation are being targeted with overtly discriminatory treatment, our nation needs you to remind and empower students about their right to equal access to education.

“We look forward to partnering with you in this very important work and hope that as a ‘door open type of person,’ you will open your office to hear from both your LGBTQ staff and the LGBTQ families our Department serves.”

DeVos has not commented on the letter.

Parts of the Title IX protections are already potentially in the firing line under the Trump administration, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew from a court battle to defend the protections from a Republican-backed legal challenge.

A string of Republican states had filed a challenge to the gender identity protections under Obama, preventing their implementation until the dispute was resolved.

The case was meant to be heard this month, but rather than defend the protections, Sessions opted to postpone the court date indefinitely.

The protections may never come into force if the case is never heard.

The dispute over education protections came just days after the President said he would not repeal Obama’s executive protections for LGBT employees in the workplace – with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner said to have convinced the President to ignore his strategists on the issue.

In a official statement just days ago, the White House claimed: “President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.

“[The order which] protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

Activists believe the inconsistent approach to LGBT protections under Trump shows just how little control the President has over his Cabinet,