WASHINGTON (ABC4) – Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) spoke out against allowing girls to participate in boys’ sports, and vice versa, during the Education Secretary Confirmation Hearing of Dr. Miguel Cardona.
During the Wednesday hearing, the senators used their time to discuss a controversial executive order President Joe Biden signed that expanded protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Sen. Paul used his time to speak with Cardona, trading remarks regarding girls participating in boys’ sports and vice versa.
Sen. Paul begins by asking Caderno if he agrees with an Office of Civil Rights opinion that transgender youth once considered boys should be allowed to participate in girls’ sports, specifically track.
Caderno says that he understands there are questions about this topic. The Biden administration has expressed support for transgender rights, overturning the previous administration’s ban on transgender military members.
“If confirmed, it’s my responsibility and my privilege to make sure that we’re following the civil rights of all students,” Caderno explains. “That includes activities that they may engage in in high school and athletics.”
Sen. Paul follows up by asking Caderno if he agrees that boys should be able to run alongside girls during track meets.
“I think that it’s critically important that education systems 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,” Caderno says.
The Kentucky senator then pushes further, asking Caderno if it bothers him that “the top 20% of boys in [Connecticut] running in track meets beat all of the girls in the state.” He goes to say that allowing boys to participate in these track meets “pushes girls out” and prevents them from getting college scholarships.
Caderno says he has spoken with those on both sides of the aisle – some concerned of the negative impacts of the topic as well as others who are appreciative of it because they are transgender. When Sen. Paul asks him if he thinks it is fair that boys participate in girls track meets, Caderno says he believes it is “the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities,” including students who are transgender.
Sen. Paul goes on to say that it is “bizarre” and “not fair” to allow boys to compete with girls in sports.
“I wonder where feminists are on this, I wonder where the people that support women’s sports are on this,” Sen. Paul says, adding that there seems to be a “disconnect” between Caderno and “middle America” on the issue.
Later on in the hearing, when Sen. Romney is called upon, he begins his remarks by saying, “I want to associate myself with a number of things said by Sen. Paul. That’s not something I say very frequently, but he made a very, very good point.”
The Utah senator goes on to explain that his granddaughters “shouldn’t be competing with people who are physiologically in an entirely different category, and I think boys should be competing with boys and girls should be competing with boys on the athletic field.”
While he did not correct himself, as you can see in the video below, Sen. Romney appears to express his agreement with Sen. Paul. He does not allow Caderno to respond but turns the conversation to President Joe Biden’s stimulus plan.
Pres. Biden recently signed the “Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.”
While the order focuses on extending protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, many falsely believed it would limit federal funding to schools that allow “biological male athletes access to women’s sports teams and scholarships,” according to USA Today.
The order, instead, restores guidance that all students, including transgender students, be able to learn without facing discrimination and have access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms.