On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson invited trans athlete Joanna Harper, who is a world-renowned expert on the topic of transgender inclusion in sports, onto his show.
He got more than he bargained for.
The focus of Harper’s appearance was the success of two trans girls in Connecticut high school track and field, which Carlson clearly felt was unfair, unjust and a whole host of other “un’s.”
Carlson had Harper on his show as a paper tiger to attack her assumed positions and expose the “unfair” presence of the entire transgender community.
Instead, Harper left Carlson speechless.
“Biological men have advantages over biological women,” Harper said. “In high school sports things are a little different. High school sports we’re not talking about adults, it’s more about participation.”
Carlson knew he had her then as she was about to expound on the importance of making room for all trans athletes. He quickly inserted his patented, demeaning and completely disingenuous one-word “right” into her commentary.
Then Harper went in for the kill.
“But still I would personally draw a line at winning state titles,” she continued. “So if I were making the rules I would allow them to participate in the state meet but not win medals.”
When Carlson disagrees with a guest, which is his favorite pastime, he is quick to jump on them. This time he was completely shocked that Harper suddenly turned her direction and made his own point for him.
Carlson was silent for exactly 1.6 seconds, a Fox News record for the host.
He was clearly taken aback by Harper’s even-handedness on the issue, something she has genuinely developed over time. She truly believes that trans athletes, even in high school, should face some mandated hormone therapy to win trophies in girls sports. It’s a position with which various LGBTQ advocates disagree.
At one point she even got Carlson laughing at himself as she publicly doubted his children, given his personal time in the 5k, would be a threat to win a championship in any race.
It got a belly laugh from the Fox News host.
Harper has a powerful role in the creation of trans-inclusion policies in sports. She was part of the group that created the International Olympic Committee’s policy in 2016, and she continues to work with the IOC on perfecting that policy.
Later in the interview she again left Carlson speechless, this time for 1.7 seconds, beating her own Fox News record from just minutes before.
Personally I disagree with some of Harper’s positions, as I advocate for broader participation even in high school sports. But I also respect Harper’s ability to advocate for trans inclusion while at the same time breaking down barriers with people who might disagree with her in some areas.
Either way, I salute Harper for her continued advocacy for trans inclusion and her willingness to appear on Fox News, connecting with an audience a majority of whom I’m confident in saying does not inherently believe in transgender athletes participating equally in sports.