Before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) grilled U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on biological male athletes participating in women’s sports, as Cardona repeatedly and awkwardly refused to offer a definition of the term “woman.”
“Following the civil rights movement of the 1960s, lawmakers established Title IX — rules to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex and federally-funded education programs, making a historic impact on girls and women sports,” Clyde said. Prior to that, he noted, “female athletes only received two percent of college athletic budgets and athletic scholarships for women were quite rare.”
According to Clyde, Title IX “unquestionably transformed women’s sports, ensuring female athletes enjoy the same opportunities as their male counterparts.”
Turning to Cardona, the congressman from Georgia said, “Earlier this month on April the 13th, your department filed a proposed rule, amending Title IX regulations that would unilaterally force schools to allow biological males to participate in women’s athletics,” he said. “This proposed rule would withhold federal assistance from schools across the nation seeking to maintain the integrity and safety of women’s sports.”
Due to the relevance of determining the difference between men and women, Clyde asked: “So can you please tell me or can you please define for me what is a woman?”
“Our focus at the department is to provide equal access to students, including students who are LGBTQ, access free from discrimination,” Cardona responded.
“So what’s the definition of a woman? You haven’t given me that. You haven’t answered my question,” Clyde fired back.
“I think that’s almost secondary to the important role that I have as secretary of education,” Cardona replied.
Clyde explained that his question was “not secondary.” He pressed, “My question is very simple: what does HHS say the definition of a woman is?”
“I lead the Department of Education, and my job is to make sure that all students have access to public education, which includes co-curricular activities,” he said. “And I think you highlighted pretty well the importance of Title IX and giving students equal access, whether it’s scholarship and facilities and participation as well.”
“OK, so you’re not going to answer my question,” Clyde said “Do you believe that a biological male who self-identifies as a woman should be allowed to compete in women’s sports?”
“I believe our focus needs to make sure that all students have access to public education,” he said.
“A yes or no is sufficient,” Clyde retorted.
“I think it’s not answered with a yes or no,” he said. “I think all students should have access to co-curricular activities.”
“I think that is a yes or no question,” Clyde said. “Do you believe that a biological male who self-identifies as a woman should be allowed to compete in women’s sports?”
“I believe all students should have access to all things that public education—” Cardona replied.
“So you’re not going to answer my question: do you believe allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports benefits female athletes?” Clyde interjected.
“I believe it’s important that we take into account the needs of all students when they’re engaging in co-curricular—” he began to say.
“So again you’re not going to answer my question: do you believe allowing biological males to enter women’s private spaces such as bathrooms and locker rooms is safe for female students?” he asked.
Cardona responded: “It’s critically important that we make sure all students feel safe in their school environment… It means that the perspective of all students should be taken into account when decisions are made around facilities.”
A person who can’t, or rather won’t, define what a woman is should have no position in government at any level, from President down to dog catcher. That person shouldn’t even be allowed to graduate from grade school.
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Denouncing Critics of Critical Race Theory
In late March 2022, Cardona alleged that conservatives had maliciously “fabricated” the notion that the tenets of Critical Race Theory were being taught to schoolchildren. “It’s my opinion that these are generated to be the boogeymen to create division in our schools,” he explained. “So, to me, those are fabricated to try to detract from the conversation about how our schools are open, how we have more money to support our students. I want the perspectives of people that don’t agree with me. That’s what makes a better school and that’s what makes a better community, when all people feel heard. But, at the end of the day, we’re going to fight for what’s right for our students, and that includes, in this case, making sure that they’re learning about the history of our country and that they see people that look like them in the materials that they’re reading.”
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