Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), questioning President Biden’s pick for education secretary on Wednesday, lambasted the inclusion of transgender kids in school sports as “bizarre,” falsely claiming non-discrimination policies in education would amount to allowing boys to compete in girls’ athletics.
Paul brought up the issue with Education Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, decrying policies against anti-trans discrimination he said would put girls at a disadvantage.
“Frankly, some boy that’s 6’2″ competing against my 5’4″ niece doesn’t sound very fair,” Paul said. “I think most people in the country think it’s bizarre. It’s just completely bizarre and unfair that people, and you’re going to run the Department of Education, you’re going to run the Department of Education and got no problem with it. That concerns me.”
Paul was responding to the initial comment on the issue from Cardona, who sought to address Paul’s inquiry respectfully while insisting transgender kids should have full access to school activities.
“I recognize and appreciate the concerns and the frustrations that are expressed,” Cardona said. “I’ve as commissioner of education have had conversations with families who have felt the way you just described and families of students who are transgender, so I understand that this is a challenge.”
Pressed by Paul on whether it’s “fair to have boys running in the girls track meet,” Cardona held firm.
“I think it’s appropriate for — I think it’s the legal responsibility of schools to allow students to participate in activities and this includes students who are transgender,” Cardona said.
Paul, however, wasn’t satisfied and said “this kind of thing is going to lead to just the vast majority of Americans just wondering who are these people that think it’s OK.”
“From what planet are you from to think it’s OK for boys to compete with girls in a track meet and that somehow would be fair?” Paul said. “I wonder where feminists are on this. I wonder where the people who supported women’s sports are on this. Are we all going to be OK with hulking 6’4″ guys wrestling against girls? It just makes no sense whatsover. And so, I think the fact that you seem to be afraid to answer the question — or basically do answer the question by saying it’s OK without saying it’s OK is a statement to a real problem we have and a disconnect what Middle America and what most Americans actually believe.”
Just before concluding his time for questioning, Paul suggested Cardona’s response alone would be enough to vote “no” on him as education secretary.
“I’m disappointed in the answer and just can’t imagine we’re going to have a policy like that nationally,” Paul said.
The questioning comes the heels of an executive order Biden signed on his first day in office calling on federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which found anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of a sex discrimination. The text of the order includes language asserting children should have access to bathrooms, locker rooms and sports free from discrimination, signaling to the Department of Education should provide for trans-inclusion in schools.
Lucas Acosta, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, criticized Paul for his remarks in a statement as spreading misinformation harmful to transgender kids.
“Transgender girls are girls – plain and simple,” Acosta said. “There are thousands of issues facing students across the country during the pandemic, from reopening schools and restarting in-person learning to addressing and protecting the mental health of our children. Yet, despite all of those pressing crises, Sen. Rand Paul chose to exclusively use all of his allotted time to attack transgender children: misgendering, spewing misinformation, and insinuating malintent among children who are just seeking to participate in sports.”
Meanwhile, states are advancing legislation that would biological boys from competing with girls in schools sports, essentially attempting to block transgender kids from participating. Legislation along those lines has advanced in Montana, South Dakota and Mississippi.
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