Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) lashed out at University of San Diego School of Law professor Gail Heriot for her description of the transgender phenomenon, calling Heriot “an ignorant bigot” during a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
Heriot, a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, objected to President Barack Obama’s new policy that requires public schools across America to provide students with access to the bathroom of their choice according to their own determination of gender identity.
The policy, Heriot said in her gail heriot written statement, was an example of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) overreaching its authority — as it has on other issues, she said, including sexual assault on university campuses.
It would be an understatement to say that the Transgender Guidance goes beyond what Title IX, which was passed in 1972, actually requires. If someone had said in 1972 that one day Title IX would be interpreted to force schools to allow anatomically intact boys who psychologically “identify” as girls to use the girls’ locker room, he would have been greeted with hoots of laughter. OCR is simply engaged in legislating.
Later in her statement, Heriot wrote (emphasis added):
Don’t get me wrong. There is no reason in the world that any federal, state or local government should be telling anyone that he or she needs to conform to the expectations of others regarding members of his or her sex. That’s what freedom is all about. But it’s one thing to butt out of an individual’s decision to dress and behave like a member of the opposite sex and it is quite another to declare that this makes that individual an actual member of the opposite sex and mandate that every federally-funded school in America act accordingly.
We are teaching young people a terrible lesson. If I believe that I am a Russian princess, that doesn’t make me a Russian princess, even if my friends and acquaintances are willing to indulge my fantasy. Nor am I a Great Horned Owl just because—as I have been told—I happen to share some personality traits with those feathered creatures. I should add that very few actual transgender individuals are confused in this way. They understand perfectly that their sex and their gender do not align. Some choose surgery to make their bodies better align with their gender. Most choose not to.
Rep. Lofgren seized on the emphasized passages above:
I don’t usually call out witnesses, but here’s what the written testimony says … I’ve got to say, I found this rather offensive. And it says to me that the witness really doesn’t know anything, and probably has never met a transgender child who is going through, in almost every case, a very difficult experience finding themselves. And I believe that the department’s guidance will help schools all over the United States in preventing the kinds of violence and harassment that these transgender kids find too often … I think it’s very regrettable that that comment was put into the record, and I think it’s highly offensive. Now, I’d to ask you a question —
When the professor objected, Lofgren exploded at the witness:
Heriot: Well, could I comment on that, please?
Lofgren: No, that’s just my opinion. You gave your opinion —
Heriot: I think you’ll find it that many people find it very impressive that the department of education thinks that they can tell schools all across the country what they should do.
Lofgren: I think you’re a bigot lady! I think you’re an ignorant bigot! I think you are an ignorant bigot, and anti-gay —
At that point, the chair, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) ruled Lofgren out of order. But she continued to speak, and Heriot responded:
Lofgren: I would just like to say that we allow witnesses to say offensive things, but I cannot allow that kind of bigotry to go into the record unchallenged. Now, I don’t want to get into a debate about it —
Heriot: Does that mean you think I am a Russian princess?
Lofgren: I have no idea.
The full video is below.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.