The Biden administration’s nominee to lead the Department of Education said the nation's schools have a “legal responsibility” to allow boys who identify as female to compete in girls' sports.
During his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., asked Miguel Cardona, the Biden administration's education secretary nominee, if he believes it's fair for transgender-identifying males to be able to compete in girls' sports.
“I think that it’s critically important that the education system and educators respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender, and that they are afforded the opportunities that every other student has to participate in extracurricular activities,” Cardona replied.
“I think it’s the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities, and this includes students who are transgender,” he continued.
Paul subsequently said he believes that most Americans find it strange and unfair that this should be allowed.
“Frankly, some boy that’s 6-foot-2 competing against my 5-foot-4 niece doesn’t sound very fair. I think most people in the country think it’s bizarre,” the Kentucky lawmaker said.
The exchange comes days after President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to include “gender identity” in their definition of “sex” as it relates to policies and practices through the government.
Supporters of the policy change routinely frame this under the banner of inclusion and diversity. By contrast, critics say that “gender identity” has no coherent material meaning and serves to undermine sex-based rights, particularly those of women and girls.
In response to Cardona's statements at the Senate's confirmation hearing, the Women’s Liberation Front — a radical feminist group that has been at the forefront contending against transgender ideology, including its impact on women’s sports — noted that recent national polling reveals that less than one-third of Democrats support allowing males to compete in girls’ sports.
The polling data, which was published in October, found that approximately 67% of voters in all parties said that men and boys ought not be allowed to compete against girls in sports, regardless of how they self-identify.
“Athletics can play a powerful role in equity. The U.N. recognized women’s sports as an important tool for the empowerment of women and girls,” Women’s Liberation Front said in the post, adding that they stand “with the women and girls across the country who are fighting to protect their sports in the face of unprecedented attacks on Title IX under the new [Biden] administration.”
The issue of sex-segregated athletics has been one of the most visible areas of the law and culture where the impact of gender identity policies have been debated.
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to affect the nation, Idaho became the first state in the country to pass legislation — the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” — prohibiting males from competing with girls' sports. Idaho lawmakers also passed a bill requiring vital statistics in public state records to be recorded and maintained on the basis of biological sex.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the state soon after the bill was signed by Gov. Brad Little, alleging that the law discriminated against trans-identified people. The law’s constitutionality is presently being litigated in federal court in the case of Hecox v. Little.