Vermont Representative Becca Balint absolutely destroyed a witness for unnecessarily bringing up transgender rights during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Tuesday.
The committee held a hearing on the effects of environmental, social, and corporate governance, or ESG, one of Republicans’ latest manufactured culture wars. ESG is a framework that helps investors understand how an organization manages risks and opportunities regarding sustainability issues, including environmental protection, impact on society, and aligning corporate and stakeholder goals.
At one point, Balint asked witness Mandy Gunasekara about her claim that ESG promotes forced gender transition for children. “I want to know, do you really believe that garbage?” asked Balint, who is the first woman and openly LGBTQ lawmaker to represent Vermont.
Gunasekara, who served in the Environmental Protection Agency under Donald Trump, insisted that her claim was “fact” and accused people who support gender-affirming care of “beating up on children.”
Balint hit back, saying that not 30 minutes prior, she had heard from parents of trans children who live in states that have banned gender-affirming care for minors. “They literally said, ‘When you leave this room, could you please—the next time you’re in a room with someone bringing up, yet again, our children and our families as some kind of bogeyman, that you actually stand up for us?’” Balint said. “I didn’t know I would have such an opportunity!”
“It feels like every single hearing that I am in, whether it is in Oversight, or whether it is in Budget, or whether it is in a subcommittee, somehow the witnesses find a way to bring in trans children into whatever conversation we’re trying to have here.”
While trans health care and ESG have nothing to do with each other, both are important policies that have become unnecessarily politicized. ESG is beneficial for both the environment and corporations, and gender-affirming care is proven to help reduce levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts in LGBTQ people.