The Trump Administration is sending a mixed message to America’s schools as to how it views the rights of LGBTQ students and student athletes, following this summer’s landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

On August 31, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights or OCR sent a threatening letter to the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The CIAC is the governing body for secondary school athletics and competitions throughout the Constitution State. Several school districts in Connecticut were sent the letter as well.

What the CIAC and those districts have in common is their unwavering support for transgender student athletes, and their refusal to change their inclusive policies since the last threatening letter sent by the OCR in May. This time, the letter was signed by acting assistant secretary for civil rights Kimberly Richey, a hand-picked protege of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos with a reportedly horrible track record in Oklahoma.

Kimberly Richey, acting assistant secretary for the Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

Richey’s edict to the CIAC and school districts is to stop allowing trans girls and women to compete, or risk federal education funding and potential penalties from the Department of Justice.

But on that same date, Richey fired-off another letter indicating the OCR is going to bat for a lesbian student athlete in Memphis, Tenn., who accuses both Shelby County school administrators and a head coach of “homophobic bigot[ry].” Richey’s letter stated the girl claims she was denied an unnamed opportunity because she “didn’t date guys,” “liked girls,” and that her coach “discriminated against the Student by selecting someone else [redacted] that isn’t gay”

There are other parts of Richey’s letter that are redacted, but not where she explains how the historic workplace discrimination ruling by the Supreme Court, Bostock v. Clayton County relates to this girl’s case. Richey writes that the decision “guides OCR’s understanding that discriminating against a person based on their homosexuality or identification as transgender generally involves discrimination on the basis of their biological sex.”

You’d think language like that would immediately shut down Richey’s other effort to stop trans student athlete inclusion in Connecticut, but, no: she added a crucial footnote, once again using that telltale phrase relied upon by bigots, TERFs and transphobes everywhere: “biological sex.”

“Bostock does not impact OCR’s regulations or enforcement of Title IX regarding schools that separate students by biological sex in the context of intimate facilities — such as locker rooms and bathrooms — or sports teams, athletic opportunities, or other substantive areas for which Title IX includes specific statutory and regulatory exemptions.”

Sunu Chandy, the legal director at the National Women’s Law Center, told ABC News the two letters from Richey are “totally at odds.”

“Do we applaud that someone won’t be discriminated against based on sexual orientation from participating in sports? Absolutely,” Chandy said. “But we cannot do that without saying this other decision that excludes transgender students, essentially, is — it’s so harmful and so offensive to us, as it would be to transgender students.”

So, the takeaway is, schools that discriminate against gay, lesbian and bisexual students face potential investigation, but schools that don’t discriminate against transgender students risk losing funding and potential legal action. The American Civil Liberties Union told the feds, oh no you don’t.

“The latest action from the Department of Education is a continuation of the Trump administration’s attacks on transgender youth,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, in a statement to Outsports.

“Though the administration may prefer policies that target and exclude transgender youth from educational opportunities, it cannot enforce the Title IX contrary to the text of the statute as it has been interpreted by the courts,” said Strangio, who himself is a trans man and represented the late Aimee Stephens in the other landmark case decided by the high court in June. “In Bostock and in subsequent cases applying Bostock to Title IX, the courts have been clear that federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination prohibit discrimination based on transgender status. Two federal appeals court have ruled that Title IX protects transgender people from discrimination in schools in the past month alone.”

In Connecticut, state attorney general William Tong swiftly responded to a request for comment on the Office of Civil Rights’ letter to the CIAC and the school districts:

“OCR is wrong, and Connecticut is ready to fight back,” Tong said in a statement to Outsports. “Like Connecticut’s own laws, Title IX forbids discrimination against girls in schools and interscholastic sports. Transgender girls are girls, full stop. The Office of the Attorney General will continue to defend every Connecticut resident, including our transgender residents, against discrimination, hate, and bigotry.”

I reached out to the CIAC for comment Tuesday night and have not received a statement as of press time. And for at least the 15th time since May 29, I attempted to get the spokesperson for Connecticut Gov. Lamont to provide a statement of support for the state’s transgender student athletes. Back in June, Lamont told reporters “I don’t want to lose any federal funds, that’s for sure.” Several news outlets, including the Associated Press, took that to mean, Lamont is willing to cave on trans rights to avoid losing crucial federal education dollars. My effort for the last 16 weeks has been to get a clarifying statement from the governor, to no avail.

I asked Dan Barrett, legal director for ACLU of Connecticut, what he had to say about the silence coming from the governor’s office:

“It’s imperative that every elected official in Connecticut affirm trans students’ rights to fully participate in school and sports, especially the governor. Trans people fought long and hard for the equal treatment provisions of our law, and our governor should publicly commit to defending and protecting those guarantees.”

On Wednesday, I sent the ACLU’s statement to the governor’s spokesperson as well as to two senior staffers for Lamont, seeking a response. I’m still waiting.