“You’re just a bigot lady, I think you are an ignorant bigot.”
In the wake of yesterday’s news that eleven states would be suing the Obama administration following it’s directive ordering public schools to allow transgender students access to restrooms corresponding with their gender identity, it is refreshing to see Democratic lawmakers cutting through the masked bigotry and fighting back in the name of basic humanity.
Leading the charge is Zoe Lofgren, the Democratic Congresswoman from California. Overseeing a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee’s Task Force on Executive Overreach Wednesday afternoon, Lofgren read aloud the testimony provided by the opposition’s “expert witness,” law professor Gail Heriot, that the directive issued by the Federal Department of Education’s Office Of Civil Rights, “was teaching young people a terrible lesson.”
Heriot, a staunch conservative and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has held many radical “Tea Party-esque” policy positions, most notably earlier this month when she vigorously defended the late-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion that black students benefit from “less advanced and slow-track schools where they do well.”
Back to yesterday’s testimony.
“I don’t usually call out witnesses, but here’s what the written testimony says,” Lofgren began as Heriot listened.
“We are teaching young people a terrible lesson,” Heriot said in her written testimony before the committee. “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.”
Lofgren said that she not only found those remarks “rather offensive, ” but that “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.”
“I believe that the department’s guidance will help schools all over the United States in preventing the kind of violence and the harassment that these transgender kids find too often, so that’s all I’m going to say on that. You know, I think it’s very regrettable that that comment was put in the record, and I think it’s highly offensive,” the California Congresswoman continued.
“Could I comment on that please?” Heriot asked.
“No, it’s just my opinion,” said Lofgren dismissively.
“I think you’ll find that many people find it very offensive that the Department of Education–” Heriot attempted to explain.
“Well, I think you’re a bigot lady,” Lofgren said in an emphatic interruption. “I think you’re an ignorant bigot. I think you’re an ignorant bigot and…”
At this point, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the task force’s chair intervened telling Lofgren that she was out of order.
“We don’t call names in this committee, and you will not be recognized to do that,” he added.
Lofgren had words for him too.
“Mr. Chairman, it is my time, and I would just like to say that we allow witnesses to say offensive things,” she continued, “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.”
Well said, Zoe.
Watch the full exchange below: