Bethany Kozma addresses the Fairfax County, Va., school board in 2016. (Screen shot via YouTube)

Add another person to the unfit-for-the-position file. The Trump administration has appointed Bethany Kozma, who led a campaign to restrict restroom access for transgender students, to the role of senior adviser for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The post was established by USAID to strategize for global reductions in economic, educational and health-related gender disparities through global projects.

Kozma held positions in the White House and Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush and opposed Obama administration guidelines for schools to let transgender students use their preferred gender pronouns and restrooms. According to a Buzzfeed report, groups resisting LGBT rights are celebrating Kozma’s appointment:

Austin Ruse of the Center for Family and Human Rights, which opposes promoting LGBT and abortion rights in foreign policy, said he did not think the appointment represented a reversal from Obama administration policy. He believes the agency remains filled with LGBT rights supporters who he said “persecuted” people with views like Kozma under Obama, and argued the Trump administration hadn’t clearly reversed course since taking office.

“The LGBTs are ruthless street fighters,” Ruse said, citing efforts to discredit his organization as a “hate group” after it was included in a delegation to the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women. “This administration is no slam dunk for people like me or Bethany Kozma. The Trump administration is filled with squishes on this issue.”

“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,” he added.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, an LGBT advocacy group, is less thrilled. “When you Google the name Bethany Kozma, the first hit is a screed against transgender youth, but that’s not surprising since President Trump has been recruiting from a pool of the most vehemently anti-LGBTQ activists to run our great nation,” Ellis said. “At a time when transgender women are facing rising levels of violence and income inequality, appointing someone to this post who has dedicated their life to harming transgender youth is a slap in the face to LGBTQ Americans and a huge leap in the wrong direction, which could place some of the most marginalized Americans directly in harm’s way.”

Kozma’s anti-trans views are well documented. She wrote several pieces for The Daily Signal, a publication managed by The Heritage Foundation. Her appointment contrasts with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ promise to aggressively enforce federal hate crime laws, specifically when there are transgender victims—though he opposed a 2009 law that expanded federal hate crime protections to include sexual orientations.

—Posted by Emily Wells.

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