GOP Lawmaker to Trans Witness in Hearing: ‘Do You Have A Penis?’
Author: Christopher Wiggins
Republican lawmakers in Arkansas did not hide their ignorance and bigotry toward the trans community during a hearing on Monday that featured one state senator inquiring about the details of one of the witness’s genitals.
The hearing’s purpose was to discuss and pass SB199, a measure limiting gender-affirming care for minors in the state.
However, first-year lawmaker Sen. Matt McKee asked a transgender pharmacy owner with a doctorate pharmacy degree who testified against the bill about her genitalia. The video of the interaction quickly went viral online.
Social media users quickly called out the state lawmakers. They said that while she testified against SB199, Republicans treated pharmacist Gwendolyn Herzig disrespectfully and contemptuously.
Herzig spoke about her own experiences as a transgender Arkansas native and as a health care worker who provides care to transgender people, the Arkansas Times reports.
After one GOP senator dismissed Herzig’s testimony, claiming that he had more information than her and that her experience was not indicative of most trans people, another lawmaker took the conversation to a shocking place.
“You said that you’re a trans woman?” McKee asked. “Do you have a penis?”
The assembled audience gasped and jeered as Herzig sat flabbergasted, trying to collect herself after the insensitive question.
“That’s horrible,” she said, clearly shocked at what had just happened.
“You’re the one that brought that into the discussion,” McKee replied, seemingly indicating that by her mere existence, the matter of genital inspection had become relevant.
“I don’t know what my rights are,” she replies, “but that question was highly inappropriate.”
She added, “I’m a healthcare professional — a doctor — please treat me as such.”
The reaction online was one of disgust.
Alejandra Caraballo, a lawyer and clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyber Law Clinic who is often targeted by online trolls for being transgender, tweeted her disbelief.
“Absolutely sickening. Arkansas State senator Matt McKee asked a trans person at a legislative hearing “do you have a penis?” Does this State Senator have any basic human decency?” Caraballo wrote.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas tweeted, “Republicans are not hiding their transphobia. TODAY in the Judiciary Committee, one Senator asked a doctor if she “has a penis” and another claimed that gender affirming care was a TikTok plot from China.”
Women’s rights activist Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu also tweeted.
“Do you have a penis?’ – WHAT? Reducing a qualified doctor to a genitalia to uphold transphobia & score political points is reprehensible @MattMcKeeAR. This is targeted abuse. Question had nothing to do with the hearing We must end the public shaming & deadnaming of Transpeople,” she wrote.
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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins