The Trump administration has announced the addition of Bethany Kozma to the Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in the US Agency for International Development, Buzzfeed reports. Kozma's official title is Senior Adviser for Women's Empowerment. However, Kozma, who was a White House staffer under President George W. Bush, was an outspoken opponent of President Obama's position that students should be able to use the bathrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity.
That sends another signal that the Trump administration doesn't intend to protect the rights of the trans community.
In posts on the Daily Signal, a website run by a conservative think tank, Kozma outlined her opposition to allowing trans students the ability to use the bathrooms that aligned with their gender. "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 [then President Obama's] transgender policies," she wrote. "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 realised I had to do something."
She continued, "I instinctively knew that I needed to speak up to protect those who cannot speak for themselves: our children." Kozma did not mention who would offer protection to the trans children harmed by cissexist bathroom mandates; nor did she mention that trans children (and trans people, generally) are actually more likely to be the victims of violence in public restrooms than perpetrators of it.
Austin Ruse of the Centre for Family and Human Rights, which opposes promoting LGBT and abortion rights in foreign policy, told BuzzFeed News, "Bethany Kozma is a lovely, sweet woman who just happens to believe that girls with penises just ought not to be showering next to girls without penises."
USAID backs programs in other countries with the explicit goal of supporting LGBTQ equality. According to BuzzFeed News, the agency adopted policies in 2016 that prohibit contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in providing services.
After President Donald Trump withdrew the Obama administration's guidance in February, Kozma wrote, "With Trump, we now have a president who is focused on remedying the lawlessness of the prior administration," saying that "as a woman and a mother," she was "thrilled that the Trump administration has rescinded [the Obama administration's bathroom policy]."
Kozma's title may be "senior advisor for women's empowerment," but it's clear from her words that her mission will not include trans women, and will likely even come at their expense.