Pedro Julio Serrano scrutinizes Rivera Schatz’s stance on Education secretary
SAN JUAN — LGBTTQI community defensor and activist Pedro Julio Serrano deplored Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz’s attitude toward recently confirmed Education Secretary Julia Keleher during the designation hearing when he insisted she provide her stance on circular letters for education with gender perspective and use of bathrooms and uniforms based on students’ gender identity.
According to Serrano, the senatorial leader’s attitude was a means to blackmail the designated official.
“It is embarrassing that this nomination is produced under blackmail by senatorial president Thomas Rivera Schatz, who wanted to guarantee that Keleher was going to discriminate against LGBTT students. It was heinous and sexist to force a woman who has been rightfully nominated to follow the senatorial president’s whim to then vote against, disparaging her even after he said that would the basis upon which he would evaluate her,” denounced Serrano in a radio interview (Radio Isla 1320).
Serrano scrutinized the decision to eliminate the circular letters, claiming it will place both LGBTT and female students at risk. He believes that gender perspective is made to treat boys and girls equally. The “Puerto Rico para Tod@s” (Puerto Rico for All) representative indicated that they will be help students if they encounter discrimination or harassment in the island’s public schools.
The elimination of Circular Letters 19-2014-2015 and 16-2015-2016 —which incorporate gender perspective and uniform use based on gender identity, respectively—, was part of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s campaign discourse and it is included in his Plan for Puerto Rico, which is why the decision doesn’t surprise Serrano.
“It was to be expected, but it isn’t right. It isn’t right, not only because Puerto Rico has already moved toward that path of students’ sexual orientation and gender identity, and gender perspective, but also because it endangers federal funds that U.S. government provides for unprejudiced education that respects students’ sexual orientation and gender identity,” he explained.
Serrano revealed that his organization will take every measure, even if it implies explaining to the U.S. government that Puerto Rico’s government isn’t complying with the guidelines that prohibit discrimination in public schools.