By V. Susan Hutchinson
This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Surprisingly three GOP representatives voted to pass the legislation; however, the rest continued to show their disdain for the rights of the LGBTQ community, especially those who are transgender.
Some of them no longer even attempt to be subtle; they openly display their ignorance and hatred.
Here in South Carolina
H.3477 was introduced into the South Carolina House in December 2020. The corresponding Senate bill S. 531 was introduced February 9, 2021. These bills are called the Save Women’s Sports Act. Save them from what? you might ask. Why save them from transgender female students, of course.
The South Carolina Statehouse is rampant with card carrying anti-LGBTQ rights members.
While there is nothing in these bills that refer to transgender students, the opening paragraph states:
“Whereas, the General Assembly finds there are two biological sexes, female and male, and that the sex of a person is objectively determined by genetics and anatomy existing at the time of birth.”
The South Carolina GOP, which controls all branches of government, now wants to be the ones to define gender in this state.
Their reason for wanting to make this a law? Apparently, it “furthers efforts to promote sex equality by providing opportunities for female athletes to demonstrate their skill, strength, and athletic abilities while also providing them with opportunities to obtain recognition and accolades, college scholarships, and the numerous other long-term benefits that flow from success in athletic endeavors.”
There must be no room for equality that leads to opportunities for transgender female athletes in South Carolina. And they must be legislated out of existence.
Rep. Marie Newman vs. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) has a transgender daughter so she understands her daily struggle for recognition and equality. Newman spoke in favor of the Equality Act on the House floor and tweaked the nose of freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who vehemently opposed the bill. Newman then posted a Twitter video of her hanging a transgender flag outside her office so that Greene could “look at it every time she opens her door”.
Greene is an ardent supporter of QAnon conspiracy theories and has implied that progressives in Congress should be shot, so it comes as no surprise she does not support equality for all. She put her hatred and ignorance on full display by posting a sign outside her door that read “There are TWO genders: Male & Female. Trust the Science!”. Her tweet, with her own video, also made the statement “Our neighbor, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called “Equality” Act to destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene is clearly a woman who thinks equal rights are like pie where if someone takes a piece it means less for you. Where the religious freedom part even comes into this discussion only Greene knows.
Greene continued her attack on Newman’s transgender daughter by saying “she does NOT belong in my daughter’s bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams.” Does Greene think transgender women are a physical threat to her daughter? Or is she afraid they will try to “convert” her to a more liberal view of the world?
My guess is the latter. Fear is what drives a bully, especially one who’s comfort zone is unfounded conspiracy theories and prejudice.
Rachel Levine vs. Sen. Rand Paul
Rachel Levine is President Joe Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services. She is also the first openly transgender person ever nominated for a federal office. As a pediatrician and former state physician general of Pennsylvania, Levine is abundantly qualified for the position.
So, what’s the problem?
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is the problem. Paul decided to put his ignorance on full display at Levine’s Senate confirmation hearing. It should be noted that Paul is also a physician – an eye doctor.
Paul not only has no understanding of the process of becoming a transgender individual, he has no desire to learn. His first questions to Rachel Levine related to the “genital mutilation” of children. Paul asked Levine if she thought minors should be able to make decisions about their bodies, such as amputating their breasts or their genitalia. He then asked if Levine supported government overriding decisions by parents who do not support a gender change for their child who has determined they are living as the wrong gender.
Levine remained collected when answering Paul, informing him that genital mutilation is not transgender surgery and referencing the definition by the World Health Organization. Levine also replied by saying “Thank you for your interest in this question. Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed.”
Levine then continued with an offer to work with Paul’s office, once she is confirmed, to discuss “the particulars of the standard of care for transgender medicine.”
It is doubtful Paul will accept this offer.
Paul then focused on transgender minors, while Levine made further attempts to educate the Senator. In the end, Paul gave up by saying “Let it go into the record that the witness refused to answer the question.”
Rachel Levine answered the question. Rand Paul just wasn’t interested in listening to her answers because he might actually learn something.
The GOP, especially in South Carolina won’t be satisfied until every LGBTQ person in the country is persecuted and oppressed. Their ignorance is somewhat understandable, but their refusal to let themselves be educated on why equality for everyone in the LGBTQ community is essential is appalling. They have no empathy or understanding of their constituents except those who are white and “Christian” so they can count on their votes to stay in office.
We must not let them continue their crusade. We need candidates to run for office against them in 2022 and 2024 at all levels of government and then we all need to vote them out.
There is no place at any level of government for anyone who supports passing laws that oppose equality for anyone.