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Senate confirms nominee who supported transgender athletes’ participation in women’s sports

March 1, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Mar 1, 2021 / 04:20 pm (CNA).- The Senate on Monday voted to confirm President Biden’s nominee for education secretary, who had supported males identifying as transgender females to participate in girls’ athletics.

Miguel Cardona, Connecticut’s education commissioner, was confirmed on Monday by a vote of 64 to 33. At his Feb. 4 confirmation hearing, he said that male athletes identifying as transgender females should be allowed to play girls’ sports.

Questioned by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) about the matter at his confirmation hearing, Cardona repeatedly stated that it “is the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities, and this includes students who are transgender.”

Several female athletes had sued the state of Connecticut in 2019, over the state’s policy of allowing student-athletes to compete in sports based on their “preferred gender identity” and not their biological sex. The girls alleged that they were discriminated against by having to compete against biological males.

The Trump-era Education Department issued a letter in 2019 stating that “boys can’t compete with girls in sports.” The agency also sided with the girls in the Connecticut transgender athletics case, saying that the state had violated Title IX through its policy.

However, last week the agency reversed course and withdrew its findings in the case. President Biden has already issued an executive order on “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” The order stated that part of the policy of his administration would be to allow students to play sports based on their gender identity.

When asked about the Education Department’s 2019 letter, Cardona would not say if he would continue to enforce the policy.  He answered that he would uphold “the civil rights of all students, and that includes activities they may engage in, in high school or in athletics.”

He later told Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) that it was “non-negotiable to make sure that our learning environments are places that are free of discrimination and harassment for all learners, including our LGBTQ students.” 

The White House has made a number of other appointments to the Education Department including Suzanne Goldberg, a former attorney with the pro-LGBT group Lambda Legal.

Goldberg, appointed to serve as assistant secretary in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, was the founding director of the Columbia Law School’s Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic, and co-director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law. Her university bio lists her as “a leading advocate and attorney for the LGBTQ+ community.”

At Columbia, Goldberg “reaffirmed” policies for students identifying as transgender in 2018, clarifying that students could access bathrooms based on their gender identity and students

She told the New York Times in 2020 that the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling—which extended employment discrimination protections to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity—was “a simple and profound victory for L.G.B.T. civil rights.”


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Amazon faces questions over removal of transgender-critical book

February 26, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Feb 26, 2021 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Online retailer Amazon is still facing questions several days after it removed a book critiquing the transgender movement. 


Ryan Anderson, who was recently appointed president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), said earlier this week that his 2018 book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” was no longer available for purchase on The book critiques the biological, psychological, and philosophical areas of the transgender debate.


“I first discovered it on Sunday around 3 pm,” Anderson told CNA, adding he is not sure “when exactly it was removed.”


Anderson said that Amazon told him on Tuesday that the book “violates their ‘content policy,’” but, he added, “they won’t tell us what aspect of the policy it violated.” 


“They won’t tell us what passage, what page, what sentence is the offending passage,” Anderson said. 


An Amazon spokesperson told CNA in an email on Friday, “As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable. That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain content as described in our content guidelines for books, which you can find here. All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer and we do not take selection decisions lightly.”


On a webpage regarding its “Content Guidelines for Books,” Amazon states that if the company removes a title, “we let the author, publisher, or selling partner know and they can appeal our decision.”


Anderson said that Amazon “acknowledged that they did not contact us ahead of time, in violation of their own policy to first contact authors and publishers.”


He warned about the precedent that the de-listing could send. “This means that anyone who’s telling the truth that we’re created male and female, whether from a faith-based perspective or from a science-based perspective, can be banned on a whim and without explanation,” Anderson said. 


Earlier this week, four Republican senators–Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Josh Hawley of Missouri–sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos inquiring about the company’s removal of Anderson’s book. 


The senators wrote that Amazon has not provided “a sufficient explanation as to how Anderson’s book, which reached the top of two of Amazon’s best-seller lists before it was even released in 2018, supposedly violated a vague, undefined ‘offensive content’ standard.”


“When Harry Became Sally prompted important discussions in the national media and among policymakers in 2018, and remains one of the most rigorously researched and compassionately argued books on this subject,” the senators wrote. 


“By removing this book from its marketplaces and services, Amazon has unabashedly wielded its outsized market share to silence an important voice merely for the crime of violating woke groupthink,” they stated.


While Anderson’s book remains unavailable for purchase on Amazon, an ebook called “Let Harry Become Sally: Responding to the Anti-Transgender Moment” remains available on the retail giant’s website. The product description says some of the book’s proceeds will be donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality. 

Anderson said that “When Harry Became Sally” may be purchased directly from its publisher, Encounter Books, “as well as from Barnes and Noble, where it is currently the #2 selling book in America.”


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HHS nominee won’t say if parents can refuse child’s gender transitioning

February 25, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Feb 25, 2021 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- A nominee for assistant health secretary on Thursday wouldn’t say if government officials can intervene when parents refuse their child’s gender transitioning.


Dr. Rachel Levine, President Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), appeared before members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday for a confirmation hearing. Levine, a biological male who identifies as transgender female, is currently Pennsylvania’s health secretary.


When pressed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) on the matter of minors being allowed to transition genders, Levine would not directly answer his questions.


“Do you support the government intervening to override the parent’s consent to give a child puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and/or amputation surgery of breasts and genitalia?” Paul asked Levine. He stated his “alarm” that Levine was not directly answering his questions.


Levine responded that “transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field,” and told Paul “if confirmed to the position of assistant secretary of health, I would certainly be pleased to come to your office and to talk to you and your staff about the standards of care and the complexity of this field.”


Roger Severino, the former head of the HHS civil rights office, stated that Levine’s answer manifested “ideology” rather than “science.”


“I met with Dr. Levine while at HHS and asked a simple question. ‘What does it mean to be male or female?’ Much like @RandPaul, I couldn’t get an answer,” Severino tweeted. “Science is about clarity and openness to review while ideology is about subjectivity backed by coercion of those who disagree.”


Severino is currently a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), and directs the center’s HHS Accountability Project.


As Pennsylvania’s health secretary, Levine reportedly supported allowing minors to start hormone therapy, but only with their parents’ consent.


In a 2017 address at Franklin & Marshall College on transgender medicine, the health secretary said that teenagers could start taking puberty blockers at the start of puberty, and with the consent of parents, a therapist, and a physician.


For 14-16 year-olds, they could take cross-gender hormones with a gradual dosage increase, Levine said, while most transgender surgeries take place after the age of 18.


Regarding homeless youth who identify as LGBT, Levine said they do not have the “luxury” of protocols, so the transition process could be “accelerated” for them.


Levine also opposed religious exemptions to the HHS contraceptive mandate that were granted to the Little Sisters of the Poor. Levine called the exemptions “immoral and unethical.”


On Thursday, Paul repeatedly questioned Levine on the matter of children transitioning genders.


“Dr. Levine, do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?” Paul asked.


Levine said that “transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field, with robust research and standards of care that have been developed.”


Paul said in response that he was “alarmed” that Levine was “not absolutely willing to say minors shouldn’t be making decisions to amputate their breasts, or to amputate their genitalia.”


“I’m alarmed that you won’t say with certainty that minors should not have the ability to make the decision to take hormones that will affect them for the rest of their life,” he said.