Vanita Gupta, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the Associate Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ), refused to say at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday whether she thinks it is fair for high school girls to be forced to compete against biological men who consider themselves transgender women.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) grilled Gupta, first for her record serving under the Barack Obama administration and then in regards to how she would handle the issue being debated across the country as to whether biological men who consider themselves transgender women should compete against female athletes in high schools and colleges.
Cotton said in 2016 when Gupta was serving in the civil rights division she provided guidance to schools that transgender students should not be treated differently than other students.
“So it means, for instance, that a biological male informs the school that he now identifies as a female the school would be required to allow him to participate on girl’s athletic teams. Is that correct?”
Gupta did not answer but referred to Biden’s executive order that unilaterally expanded the Title IX promise of protecting girls and women from discrimination because of their sex to include “gender identity.”
“Senator, President Biden has been very clear and forthright about his support to protect all LGBTQ people in an executive order,” Gupta said. “He’s asked federal agencies to look at and consider application of the Bostock decision and other federal statutes as long as it’s consistent with the law and if I am confirmed I believe in supporting the dignity and well being of all people in accordance with all federal laws and the Constitution.”
Gupta was referring to the Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, where it found it a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if an employee were fired because of their sex, which the majority said includes sexual orientation.
Cotton then asked Gupta if she knew the name of the faster woman track and field athlete in the world in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
“No, I do not,” Gupta said.
“The late great Florence Griffith Joyner, Flo-Jo to millions of her fans,” Cotton said. “No woman has ever run faster in those two races than she has. But you know who has? Seventy-six high school boys in America in 2019.
“Do you really think it’s fair for high school girls, given the innate physical differences, to have boys who can beat the fastest women in the history of the world — transition to female identity and then compete against them in their sports?”
Again, Gupta did not answer the question but repeated broad support for gay rights.
“Senator, I believe that LGBTQ people have the right in dignity to identify as they see fit, as do all Americans and if I am confirmed I will be enforcing federal civil rights laws and the constitution and upholding that value,” Gupta said.
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