During testimony on the pro-LGBT Equality Act, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) asked a pro-transgender witness to respond to the claims of witnesses who disagreed with transgender identity. In turning to ask Sunu Chandy, legal director at the National Women’s Law Center, about the testimony from Duke Law School Professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman, Nadler referred to Coleman as a “he,” and “Mr. Coleman.”
“Professor Coleman testifies that female athletes ‘know that segregation on the base of sex or at least on sex-linked traits, is necessary to achieve equality in this space,’ and he also testifies… I’m sorry, Mr. Coleman—” Nadler said.
Chandy interrupted Nadler, saying, “she.”
Nadler continued, “She testifies that because those born male are exposed to much higher levels of testosterone …” He went on to ask Chandy to “debunk” the argument that biological males have an advantage over biological females in sports.
The sex mix-up was likely a mistake, but it could also be read as Nadler assuming that a witness testifying against transgender inclusion in sports must be a bigoted male.
Coleman’s female sex is extremely pertinent to her testimony, however. She herself is an athlete and a legal expert on Title IX issues, focusing on women’s sports. She won a Track & Field scholarship to Villanova in 1978, thanks to Title IX.
Coleman lamented that the Equality Act would reverse key gains in women’s sports by allowing biological males to compete. Since males have a biological advantage in sports, “the very best women in the world would lose to literally thousands of boys and men, including thousands who would be considered second-tier.”
This risks losing the “extraordinary value” of female athletic role models for young girls everywhere. Coleman referenced many impressive women who set records in sports, inspiring girls of all races to enter the field.
The Equality Act risks these “invaluable goods,” Coleman warned.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.