During the House Oversight Subcommittee on Health hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed concern over the potential privacy implications of barring biological men from women's sports. Ocasio-Cortez suggested that such measures could lead to invasive examinations for underage girls to verify their gender.
The New York Democrat highlighted the risk of mandatory genital examinations for young female athletes, a scenario she described as probable in cases where an individual's gender is questioned, Fox News reported.
"We are talking about opening up all women and girls to genital examinations when they are underage, potentially just because someone can point to someone and say, I don’t think you are a girl," she claimed.
Her comments came in the context of broader discussions on policies impacting transgender Americans and the intersection of privacy rights and women’s sports.
Ocasio-Cortez's remarks were made during a session that included testimony from NCAA swimming champion and women's sports advocate Riley Gaines. The hearing addressed the issue of transgender participation in women's sports, a topic that has sparked intense debate and legislative action in various states.
In her statement, Ocasio-Cortez also referenced the post-Dobbs American landscape, where states have tightened regulations on reproductive rights, raising concerns about the collection of personal data on women's health. She questioned the implications of such policies on both transgender and cisgender women's privacy and safety.
The discussion follows the removal of a controversial provision from an Ohio state House proposal last year, which initially included a requirement for "internal and external" exams to confirm a student-athlete's gender. The provision was replaced with a requirement to present a birth certificate, a change welcomed by State Senate President Matt Huffman, who questioned the necessity of genital examinations.
The hearing witnessed heated exchanges, including a response from Gaines to Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa., who had criticized the testimonies as "transphobic." Gaines defended her stance, emphasizing the need for fairness and safety in women’s sports, and asserting that inclusion should not override these principles.
"There's a place for everybody to play sports in this country," Gaines said. "But unsafe, unfair and discriminatory practices must stop."
"Inclusion cannot be prioritized over safety and fairness," the former NCAA swimmer added. "And ranking member Lee, if my testimony makes me ‘transphobic,’ then I believe your opening monologue makes you a misogynist."