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Twitter screenshot of Becca Balint; Twitter screenshot of Mandy Gunasekara

During a House Oversight Committee hearing on sustainable investing, Vermont Democratic Representative Becca Balint strongly criticized Mandy Gunasekara, a former Trump administration official, for bringing up transgender issues.

The discussion revolved around the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment strategy and Gunasekara's baseless assertion that it promotes gender transitions for children. Republican critics of ESG have long argued against its principles, which incorporate a company's approach to climate change and social issues.

Balint, who is gay, expressed her frustration and questioned the credibility of Gunasekara's claims, leading to a heated exchange.

You can watch their exchange in the video below.

After Balint questioned whether Gunasekara genuinely believes "that garbage" in response to the latter's assertion that ESG promoted gender transitions for children at the House Oversight Committee meeting, Gunasekara insisted "it's a matter of fact."

Balint then asked her the following:

“So you believe investing strategies are actually ... weaponized to support and promote gender transition for children? It is that essentially what you’re saying, or do you just use it as another opportunity to beat up on children?”

Gunasekara responded:

“I’m not the one beating up on children. It’s the people who are promoting gender transitions in children that are potentially harming them.”

It was then that Balint shut her down, noting that she had just 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?’ 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."

Many have condemned Gunasekara's remarks and praised Balint for speaking out.

Gunasekawa's appearance before the House Oversight Committee came as GOP officials in legislatures around the country persist in their efforts to impede gender-affirming care within their respective states.

Many Republicans' use of transphobia as a political tool shows they are willing to resort to lies and hate speech to win elections and throw meat to their base.

Meanwhile, claims that ESG investment strategies amount to "woke politics" have continued to be heard from Republicans who similarly attacked Transportation Pete Buttigieg earlier this year after he released a plan that in part reserved grant money for “projects that address equity and environmental justice, particularly for communities that have experienced decades of underinvestment and are most impacted by climate change, pollution, and environmental hazards.”