Elizabeth Warren has vowed to get help from a nine-year-old transgender boy in picking her secretary of education.
The Democratic presidential hopeful told supporters in Iowa that she would ask Jacob, a nine-year-old transgender boy who she met at an LGBT+ event, to vet her picks for the cabinet role.
Elizabeth Warren: Trans kid will sign off on education secretary pick
Speaking at an event in Cedar Rapids this week, she said: “For my secretary of education, number one it has to be someone who has taught in a public school.
“Number two, a young trans person asked [me] about a welcoming community… I’m going to have a secretary of education that this young trans person interviews on my behalf, and only if this person believes that our secretary or education nominee is absolutely committed to creating a welcoming environment, a safe environment, and a full educational curriculum for everyone will that person actually be advanced to be secretary of education.”
Donald Trump’s education secretary Betsy DeVos, who has never taught in a public school, has stripped nearly all of the civil rights protections for transgender children that were enforced under the Obama administration, and ceased all investigations of discrimination complaints from trans kids.
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The question came from Jacob, who appeared at the CNN equality town hall in October, asking Warren: “What will you do in your first week as president to make sure that kids like me feel safer in schools? And what do you think schools need to do better to make sure that I don’t need to worry about anything but my homework?”
Boy ‘can speak for so many kids’
Jacob’s mother, Mimi Lemay, later spoke to Out about her pride at seeing her son “so poised and ready to advocate for himself.”
She said: “He has struggled with his own identity, with coming out to us and to himself,” she said. “He struggled to find his voice. Now that he has found it, and he can speak for so many kids.
“As a parent, that’s all I want for my child. The evening was so powerful for our whole family and I don’t think we’ll ever forget it.”
Jacob began expressing his gender identity from a very early age. At two and a half, he became increasingly morose and despondent, before telling his parents there had been a “mistake.”
“I am not a girl, I am a boy,” he said.
When she was invited to ask a question at the event, Lemay opted to let Jacob decide what to ask. To her surprise, he said he wanted to be the one to ask it.