Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont blasted Secretary of Education Elisabeth DeVos for threatening to withhold $18 million in federal funding to several magnet schools in the state unless they withdraw from an athletic conference that permits student-athletes to compete according to the gender with which they identify. OutSports is reporting Lamont made the comments in a news conference yesterday.
“We are going to stand up and fight against discrimination,” Lamont said, before adding he wished “the federal government would just butt out on this subject.”
The issue revolves around the Department of Education’s interpretations for the Title IX amendment to the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX declares that no person shall “on the basis of sex” be discriminated against or denied participation in “any education program or activity” receiving federal financial assistance. The department’s Office of Civil Rights is claiming that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference is discriminating against cisgender females by requiring them to compete against trans athletes.
Under DeVos, the Department of Education has been rolling back protections for trans athletes. Last year, she acknowledged that the administration's choice to rescind Obama-era protections for transgender students exposed those students to additional harassment and discrimination. The department had earlier announced it would ignore complaints filed by transgender students and rolled back policies on investigating campus sexual assaults, which disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ students.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal discrimination laws protect LGBTQ+ workers. The 6-3 vote guaranteed that trans people would be free from discrimination in the workplace, but it remains unclear how the decision impacts protections under Title IX.
In June, Lamont had stated he did not want to lose the federal funding “over a state policy that allows transgender athletes to participate as girls in high school sports.” On Monday, though, his tune had changed as he accused DeVos and the Trump administration of politicizing the issue just six weeks from the November general election. Lamont now stood firm in his convictions that his state will fight back against the attacks on trans student-athletes.
“We are going to stand up and fight against discrimination.”