WATCH: Biden's education secretary tells Jim Banks he wants biological males in girls' sports

"Are you saying do I believe transgender girls should have access to sports? Yes, I do," Miguel Cardona affirmed.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

Indiana's Rep. Jim Banks grilled Biden's Education Secretary on Thursday about the administration's view on allowing boys and girls to use bathrooms that correspond to "gender identity" as well as their view on allowing biological males to compete in girls' and women's sports.

"Mr. Secretary," Banks asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, "Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. However, your department is currently pushing a rule to force every school in America to add non binary as a sex characteristic. How can the Department of Education enforce sex based discrimination when the very definition of sex is so unclear?"

"We're not pushing for that. We are allowing states who have different categories to use those different categories of data collection that they're already collecting," Cardona said.

In January 2021, on the very day President Biden took office, he signed an executive order that read: "Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports."

That executive order referenced Title IX, reading: "Under Bostock‘s reasoning, laws that prohibit sex discrimination — including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.)... prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, so long as the laws do not contain sufficient indications to the contrary."

"It is the policy of my Administration to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, and to fully enforce Title VII and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation," read the order Biden signed.

"So you're not waiting for a rule to add non binary?" Banks asked Cardona.

"We're allowing states to report whatever classifications they have in their states," Cardona said.

"So Mr. Secretary, do you believe that biological male athletes competing in women's sports are in conflict with Title IX protections for female athletes?" Banks asked.

"Sir, I understand where your line of questioning is going, I would love to talk to you about how the budget is going to help the students in your community. I'm proud of theTitle IX regulations," Cardona said.

Banks noted that Cardona had not answered the question, and asked "Do you think it's fair for biological boys to compete against girls in sports?"

"I believe all children should have an opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities, including athletics, including the arts, because that's what our schools provide. Every student should have access to it," Cardona replied.

"Mr. Secretary," Banks said, "never before have we had an administration like this one that's decimated Title IX like you guys are. Do you believe it's fair or not for biological boys to compete against girls and sports? It's a simple question."

"I believe all students should have access to sport," Cardona said.

"So you do support biological boys competing against girls and sports?" Banks demanded.

"I believe I answered the question," Cardona said.

"No you haven't. It's just as a simple question, just answer the question. The administration either supports it or you don't," Banks pressed.

"Are you saying do I believe transgender girls should have access to sports? Yes, I do," Cardona affirmed.

"So you and this administration support biological boys competing against girls and sports. And furthermore, you don't believe that that's in direct conflict with Title IX," Banks stated.

"Sir," said Cardona, seemingly taking offense at the question, "I see where your questions are going and I'm going to be very clear with you: our transgender students need to feel supported, included and seen and your line of questioning is even by like, describing it the way you're doing it, shows me that you don't believe that all students should have access to the extracurricular activities that schools provide."

Banks does believe that all children should have access, but that boys and girls should compete on the teams that correspond to their biological sex and not their perceived gender identity.

"I guess where I'm going, Mr. Secretary, is you believe that Title IX protects biological boys competing against girls and supports this administration stands by that. We're about to celebrate the 50th anniversary next month of Title IX, which was brought about with bipartisan support 50 years ago.

"And so somehow, somewhere you and this administration believe that Title IX somehow protects biological boys for competing against girls and sports. You're okay with that," Banks said.

"I've had conversations with girls who are transgender," said Cardona, meaning biological boys who have self-identified as girls, "who also look to sports to develop their own sense of accomplishment, to set goals, to work as a part of a team. I do support the ability to access what the public schools provide, both at the K-12 level and at the higher end level.

"Mr. Secretary, do you agree that school districts should keep a child's involvement in gender transition a secret from their parents?" Banks asked. This has been an issue notably in Florida, as well as other states, and was a policy pushed by the national guidance counselors association as far back as 2016. It resulted in the attempted suicide of one Florida child, as well as countless problems as it has broken up and divided families.

"I would love to answer questions on the budget, which is why I'm here and I think what I'm gathering—" Cardona said before Banks interrupted, demanding answers.

"These policies that your administration stands for, and you're asking me to fund your budget. And these are policies that you stand for. It's completely relevant to why you're here today. It's a simple question answer the question: do you think that schools should keep it a secret from their parents, that their children are involved in gender transition?

"Parents, listen, parents and schools must work together to support students and I do strongly support, and if you look through the work that we've supported, and in our policies and our practices, we want parents—" Cardona said, before he was cut off by Banks demanding an answer to the question.

"Should schools ever keep it a secret from parents, if their children are involved in gender transition?" Banks asked.

"Schools should be partnering with parents and communication and there are times where schools are working in supporting students on issues that are very sensitive, but I do believe that parents should be connected with schools, and in many cases, working together is what's going to help the student. I have spoken to students who've shared whatever situation is at the home that they felt safe at the school and we have to be careful not to try to turn this into something that's it's not. Our schools are safe places for our students and our teachers are often the frontliners when it comes to supporting students when they have issues in their lives.

"That's a very bizarre answer," Banks said. "Mr. Chairman, I yield back."


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