Betsy DeVos finally reveals who she was all along: an anti-LGBTQ activist

DeVos invites anti-LGBTQ groups to education events held in Washington, outlines plans to rollback approach to investigating civil rights complaints

NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, called out Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for inviting anti-LGBTQ hate groups to government events and rolling back policies aimed to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination at our schools – as recently as today. These actions as well as a long anti-LGBTQ activist record speak louder than DeVos’s repeated attempts to frame herself as an ally to the LGBTQ community. With the safety and well-being of our students on the line, Betsy DeVos has revealed herself to be the true anti-LGBTQ activist she always was.

“Anti-LGBTQ organizations have no place in government business and school-based discrimination against LGBTQ students must never be ignored or silenced,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “Our children deserve to learn in a place that’s inclusive and open to their needs, and that’s at risk should an unqualified person run the Department of Education. Today, Betsy DeVos showed Americans who she really is – an anti-LGBTQ activist.”

After refusing to affirm that schools who receive funding from the federal government should be held accountable for discrimination against LGBTQ students, not once but twice, Secretary DeVos is now going one step further. An internal memo from the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) obtained by Pro Publica outlines a plan that would effectively roll back the agency’s expansive approach to investigating civil rights complaints. This could be harmful for LGBTQ students where about 66.2% of LGBTQ students surveyed have personally experienced discriminatory policies or practices at school.

This rollback was leaked on the day Secretary DeVos invited Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, two anti-LGBTQ organizations, to be speakers for a day-long conference hosted by the Department of Education on engaging fathers in their children’s education and welfare. DeVos previously supported and even donated money to Focus on the Family which is infamous for promoting discredited “conversion therapy” practices on LGBTQ children.

Despite her past claims, Secretary DeVos’s actions speak louder than her words. She is no ally to the LGBTQ community, in fact, Betsy DeVos is an anti-LGBTQ activist that will systematically erase LGBTQ students from the fabric of our nation’s education system.

Background Information: Secretary DeVos’ Anti-LGBTQ History

  • The DeVos family has funded anti-LGBTQ organizations ranging from Focus on the Family, which openly advocates for so-called "conversion therapy," to Bethany Christian Services, an adoption agency that excludes LGBTQ parents and advocates for laws that allow them to do so, and the Heritage Foundation, which strategizes against LGBTQ policy.
  • Allowed the Trump Administration to rollback Title IX protections for transgender students in our nation’s schools.
  • Sat on the board of the anti-LGBTQ Acton Institute from 1995-2005.
  • Framed marriage equality as a "coarsening" driven by "coastal elites": “There is one party that takes millions of dollars from celebrities and elites and in turn enthusiastically embraces their values, that chuckles at or cheers the destruction of our traditions and the coarsening of our culture, and that believes it is no big deal to redefine the most fundamental institution of mankind. But fortunately, there is another party in America that recognizes marriage between one man and one woman as an institution that was created not by man, but by God. That party will not be intimidated by the coastal elites in Hollywood or Boston. That party is not ashamed to stand up for marriage.”
  • Advocated strongly for the passage of a ban on marriage equality in her home state of Michigan, contributing over $200,000 to the anti-LGBTQ campaign.
  • Secretary DeVos' father, Edgar Prince, is one of the founders of the Family Research Council, a viciously anti-LGBTQ organization.
  • Bragged about her wealthy family's ability to buy influence within the Republican Party: "[M]y family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party…. I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections."