Donald Trump has yet again defied campaign promises to support the LGBTQ community by appointing an anti-transgender activist to the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the U.S. Agency for International Development. At best, this shows the president’s thoughtlessness for gender and sexual minorities—at worst, he is intentionally and deceptively trying to reverse the progress made over the last 8 years.
An agency spokesperson announced last week that Bethany Kozma would assume the title of senior advisor for women’s empowerment. Previously Kozma worked under President George W. Bush in the White House and Department of Homeland Security, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She began to publicly advocate against transgender people in 2016, when she campaigned against the Obama Administration guidance to public schools that said transgender students should use the bathroom of the gender they identify with (a policy that was later withdrawn by the Trump Administration).
Under the Obama Administration, USAID carried out policies to foster LGBTQ economic empowerment, access to healthcare, and political involvement. Additionally, in late 2016, the agency began barring federal contractors from discriminating against sexual and gender minorities.
Kozma launched her campaign against Obama’s trans-inclusive bathroom policy with an article posted to the Daily Signal, a publication of the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation. In it, she named the campaign “United We Stand,” and made the debunked argument that the policy would lead to sexual assault.
“To put it simply, a boy claiming gender confusion must now be allowed in the same shower, bathroom, or locker room with my daughter under the president’s transgender policies,” she wrote in the article. “When I learned that predators could abuse these new policies to hurt children in school lockers, shelters, pool showers, or other vulnerable public places like remote bathrooms in national parks, I realized I had to do something.”
She expressed appreciation when Trump withdrew from the Obama-era guidance in Februrary, writing in another Daily Signal article, “With Trump, we now have a president who is focused on remedying the lawlessness of the prior administration.”
She concluded: “This mom has conveyed her support and gratitude. I hope others will follow.”