An anti-LGBTQ activist is leading diversity and inclusion efforts at the Department of Education.
Sarah Perry, whose résumé includes working for anti-LGBTQ hate group the Family Research Council, was tapped to co-chair a newly formed committee created after the employee-led Diversity and Inclusion and Employee Engagement Advisory councils were combined into one, Huffington Post reports.
In her time with FRC, Perry made a number of statements against transgender people and transgender equality.
Last year, she railed against “transgender supremacy” in a news conference, and claimed without evidence that children with autism can mistakenly believe they are transgender.
“By ignoring underlying conditions, the demands of transgender supremacy marginalize our unique kids, especially those with autism and mental health diagnoses,” Perry said. “They deflect much-needed resources away from the pandemic of autism. They substitute pseudo-science for science. And they leave our children questioning who they truly are.”
She has also slammed allowing transgender people to compete in sports according to their gender identity, saying on an FRC podcast earlier this year, “The notion has been brought up of providing a separate transgender league for these individuals and yet that hasn’t proved sufficient to quell the debate on this. It should be as simple as Title IX protecting biological girls, period.”
HuffPost reports that, during her time working for the FRC’s podcast, Perry also criticized Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club for including trans characters.
An Education Department spokesperson told HuffPost that “diversity and inclusion remains a top priority for [the Office for Civil Rights]’s leadership which is why the diversity and inclusion council is led by two senior leaders.”
Rather than employee-led, the newly formed council will instead be chaired by political appointees chosen by department leaders. Perry’s co-chair, Don Salo, reportedly received the Secretary of the Army Award for Diversity and Inclusion in 2016.
Multiple employees spoke to HuffPost and called it “ironic and heartbreaking” that the Department of Education had hired an anti-LGBTQ activist to aid with diversity and inclusion efforts.
They claimed that Perry’s hiring was part of a retaliation against such efforts, after diversity and engagement councils had rejected recent Education Department practices.
Politico recently reported that the Department, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is targeting employee book clubs and meetings as part of a crackdown on race-related training that discusses “white privilege.”
Under DeVos and the administration of Donald Trump, the Department of Education has repeatedly attacked transgender people and sided with those who reject allowing trans student athletes to compete according to their gender identity.
Earlier this year, the department threatened to withhold federal funding from school districts in Connecticut that allow trans female athletes to compete in women’s sports, saying it violates the rights of cisgender athletes.
The Office for Civil Rights claims that allowing the participation of transgender females in girls’ sporting events violates Title IX, which is intended to guarantee equal opportunities for cisgender female athletes.
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