Education Sec. Cardona does not answer 'how many genders are there?' during testimony

GOP Rep. Mary Miller asked Sec. Cardona how many genders there are during a hearing before the House Education and Labor Committee, during which the latter refused to respond.

The Biden administration's interpretation of gender is likely to influence how the administration changes existing Title IX policies.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona refused to answer Rep. Mary Miller when she asked him in a House Education and Labor Committee hearing how many genders there are. 

Miller asked, ”Before we start penalizing teachers for stating a genetic and biological fact about genders, can you please clarify for the committee how many genders there are?” 

Cardona declined to state a number, and instead dodged the question, saying, “So, I know what you’re asking, but I’m going to get to the root of what you’re asking. I feel very strongly, that as educators, it’s our responsibility to protect all students.”

Miller repeated her question and again, he declined to respond. Cardona eventually admitted, “I won’t be answering your question.”

Rep. Miller was discussing a two-page resource published jointly by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice titled, “Confronting Anti-LGBTQI+ Harassment in Schools.” The document contains examples of instances of Ant-LGBTQI+ discrimination that the federal government would potentially investigate. 

[RELATED: ‘Graygender, Maverick, Feminine of Center’: NYU lists TWO DOZEN gender options]

One such instance involves a hypothetical elementary school student who identifies as nonbinary. In the example, “The teacher tells the class that there are only boys and girls and anyone who thinks otherwise has something wrong with them.” In another vignette, a transgender girl is told she cannot try out for the cheerleading squad because her body is biologically male. 

[RELATED: Allowing men in women’s sports just became the Biden administration’s official policy]

The question of how many genders exist has taken on new importance since the Biden administration issued a notice in a federal database stating that it plans to write a new Title IX rule. Title IX bans discrimination on the basis of sex, and the Department of Education announced weeks ago that it interprets the Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County to mean that Title IX also applies to gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The document issued on Bostock, called a Notice of Interpretation, stated that public schools which do not allow biological men to compete in women’s sports may be opening themselves up to federal investigation

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito