US: Trump Administration Appoints Anti-Transgender Activist To Gender Equality Post

The Trump administration has appointed an activist who led a campaign to restrict bathroom access for transgender students to the office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in the US Agency for International Development.

Bethany Kozma's title is senior adviser for women's empowerment, according to an agency spokesperson. Kozma did not return a message seeking comment for this story.

Kozma held positions in the White House and Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, according to her LinkedIn profile, before dedicating herself full-time to raising her children. In 2016, she launched a campaign to oppose the Obama administration's guidance to public schools that said transgender students have the right to use facilities matching their gender identity; the guidance was withdrawn by the Trump administration in February.

USAID has backed programs in several countries with the goal of supporting LGBT economic empowerment, access to housing and health care, and political participation. The agency also adopted guidelines in late 2016 barring contractors overseas from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in providing services.

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. Read more via Buzzfeed