Biden's secretary of education warns states against enacting laws to protect women's sports

Miguel Cardona speaks after President-Elect Joe Biden announced him as his nominee for Education Secretary at the Queen theatre on December 23, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. | Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

The U.S. Secretary of Education has expressed support for allowing trans-identified athletes to compete in sports that correspond with their gender identity as opposed to their biological sex, hinting that the federal government would take action against states that passed laws requiring athletes to compete in sports teams that match their biological sex.

In an interview with ESPN that aired Monday, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona discussed his views on “how transgender athletes should be treated and when and how they should compete.”

Cardona dismissed the argument that “allowing transgender athletes to compete in certain competitions is unfair to female athletes.”

“I recognize there’s a lot of concern around … that issue. But what’s not tolerable is saying that some students cannot participate because of their gender," he said. 

“LGBTQ students have endured more harassment than most other groups. So it’s critically important that we stand with them and give them opportunities to engage in what every other child can engage in without harassment."

Cardona stressed that he supports “local control” in education, but suggested that his office would be open to taking action against states that pass laws requiring athletes to compete on sports teams that correspond with their biological sex instead of their chosen gender identity.

“We do have a responsibility to protect the civil rights of students, and if we feel the civil rights are being violated, we will act.”

Cardona’s interview with ESPN comes as multiple states have passed laws requiring trans-identified athletes to compete on sports teams that correspond with their biological sex.

These policies are enacted as a result of concerns that boys have inherent physical advantages over girls in sports and that allowing biological males to compete against biological females is unfair to female athletes.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham elaborated on the biological differences between men and women on an episode of her show, “The Ingraham Angle,” in 2019.

“Male bones are bigger in both size and density. Females have shorter arms and legs relative to body size. Females are around 30% to 35% muscle by weight, while males are 40% to 50% muscle," she said.

“Females’ ligaments are thinner and softer than males.’ The internal organs of … men tend to be bigger, broader, more capable of taking in oxygen. … The structure of the anatomy is different, period,” she added.

A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that even after two years of taking “feminizing” hormones, trans-identified males still ran 12% faster than biological females. 

The interview with ESPN was not the first time that Cardona had expressed support for allowing trans-identified athletes to compete on sports teams that align with their gender identity. During his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Cardona told U.S. senators that “it’s the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities, and this includes students who are transgender.”

Cardona was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 64–33, with 14 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting his nomination.

Prior to joining the Biden administration as the secretary of education, Cardona served as the commissioner of education in Connecticut. Connecticut has received national attention for its policy of allowing biological males who identify as female to compete against girls in athletic competitions. The policy led to a lawsuit from female athletes who had lost competitions to biological males.

The plaintiffs contended that the policy violated Title IX civil rights law, which was designed to provide equal opportunities for women in education, including sports. In April, a federal judge dismissed the girls’ lawsuit, leading their attorneys to appeal his decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Cardona’s comments to ESPN come days after President Joe Biden issued a "Pride Month Proclamation," declaring the month of June as "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Pride Month."

Biden lamented that “some states have chosen to actively target transgender youth through discriminatory bills that defy our Nation’s values of inclusivity and freedom for all.” 

In an effort to allow transgender athletes to compete while acknowledging the biological differences between men and women, USA Powerlifting has established an “MX category” that is open to “Powerlifting athletes of all gender identities.”

While “USA Powerlifting’s traditional male and female” teams are restricted to members of the two biological sexes, “the MX category provides a safe, inclusive option for athletes of all genders and gender identities to compete within USA Powerlifting.” 

The Christian Post reached out to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education for comment. A response was not received by press time. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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