Rand Paul Questions Biden’s Education Department Nominee on Transgender Student Athletes in Tense Exchange
Sen. Rand Paul grilled President Biden’s education secretary nominee Miguel Cardona on transgender athlete’s participating in school sports during Cardona’s confirmation hearing.
From the National Review:
President Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office calling on schools to allow transgender student athletes to participate in the sporting events that match their gender identity rather than their biological gender.
Biden’s order broadens last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that LGBT individuals are protected from workplace discrimination based on sex, to apply to Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools receiving federal money.
However, last year the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights informed the state of Connecticut that allowing transgender student athletes to participate in female sports violated the Title IX rights of female students.
Cardona is currently Connecticut’s commissioner of education.
“I understand that there are a lot of concerns about that. If confirmed, it’s my responsibility and my privilege to make sure that we’re following civil rights of all students, and that includes activities that they may engage in in high school or athletics,” Cardona responded when asked by Paul if he planned to enforce the civil rights opinion.
Cardona then dodged Paul questioning whether he took issue with boys running in girls track meets, saying that it’s “critically important” for teachers and schools to “respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender.”
From there, the exchange got even more testy:
“So you don’t have a problem then, of boys running in the girls’ track meets, swimming meets, you name it, you’re ok then with boys competing with girls?,” Paul continued.
“Respectfully, senator, I believe I answered the question,” Cardona replied.
“I think the fact that you seem to be afraid to answer the question, or you basically do answer the question by saying it’s ok without saying it’s ok, really is a statement to real problem we have and a disconnect between middle America and what most Americans actually believe,” Paul said.
“Who are these people that think it’s okay? From what planet are you from?,” Paul said to Cardona.
Transgender participation in school sports has become a controversial issue in recent years, with advocates of transgender rights saying that student-athletes should be able to compete with the gender they identify with and not their biological one.
But that movement has faced resistance from girls sports advocates, who say that allowing biological males that identify as females would have an unfair advantage over biological females in girls sports.
That battle played out most recently in Cardona’s Connecticut, where a group of female student-athletes filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the state’s policy of allowing biological males to compete in female school sports.
“Forcing girls to be spectators in their own sports is completely at odds with Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics,” their attorney, Christiana Holcomb said. “Connecticut’s policy violates that law and reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women.”
The athletes themselves argued that allowing biological males predetermines the outcomes of their events.
“Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts,” said one of the female athletes. “That biological unfairness doesn’t go away because of what someone believes about gender identity. All girls deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field.”