During a hearing on the effects of the supreme court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that guaranteed the right to an abortion, a Republican senator from Missouri Josh Hawley was accused of being transphobic by a law professor.
Hawley, who has previously co-sponsored a bill that would ban transgender kids from participating in sports, questioned Khiara Bridges, a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law who was asked to testify on reproductive rights, during the judiciary committee hearing.
“You’ve referred to ‘people with a capacity for pregnancy’,” he said. “Would that be women?”
Bridges retorted, “Many cis women have the ability to become pregnant. Many cis women lack the ability to become pregnant. There are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy, as well as non-binary people who are capable of pregnancy.”
Republicans and other groups have repeatedly sought to restrict the rights of transgender people in the US and abroad. Over the past year, anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and legislation have increased in some US cities.
Hawley said: “So this isn’t really a women’s rights issue. It’s … it’s what?”
Bridges said: “We can recognize that this impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups, those things are not mutually exclusive, Senator Hawley.”
She added: “I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic and it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them.”
You’re saying that by inquiring as to whether or not women are the only ones who can become pregnant, Hawley said?
“I want to note that one in five transgender people have attempted suicide,” Bridges said. It is risky to pretend you are unaware of the existence of transgender people.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, more than 320 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in the US this year. If the supreme court reconsiders laws that defend the right to same-sex marriage and relationships, LGBTQ+ rights may also be in jeopardy. Clarence Thomas, a conservative justice, has recommended that the court take this action.
According to polls, the majority of Americans oppose laws that discriminate against transgender people, but Republicans have continued to push for such laws.
Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida and the presumed front-runner for the presidency in 2024, signed the contentious “don’t say gay” law in March, which forbids educators from addressing students’ sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom. DeSantis moved to outlaw transitional care for transgender children in June.
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, issued an order for state agencies to look into gender-affirming care for transgender children as possible child abuse earlier this year.
Other politicians and members of the right-wing media have spread false information about attempts by gay and trans people to groom schoolchildren.