‘This garbage must end’: Rand Paul, Marjorie Taylor Greene rebuked over transgender statements

Two members of Congress have drawn rebukes this week for public statements about transgender people.

On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul, in his questioning of a Biden nominee, repeatedly used the phrase “genital mutilation” in reference to gender confirmation surgery. The previous day, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green posted an anti-transgender sign facing the office of a lawmaker who has a transgender child.

Paul’s statements came during the confirmation hearing for Rachel Levine, President Joe Biden’s pick to serve as assistant health secretary. She would be the first out transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

He questioned Levine about gender confirmation surgery for minors — a very rare procedure in the United States — and spoke of it as “genital mutilation.”

Sen. Patty Murray, the chair of the Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, later rebuked the Kentucky Republican.

“It is really critical to me that our nominees be treated with respect and that our questions focus on their qualifications and the work ahead of us rather than on ideological and harmful misrepresentations like those we heard from Sen. Paul,” Murray said.

The hearing to consider Levine’s nomination came the same day that the House voted to approve the Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect people from being discriminated based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and other services as well as access to public accommodations.

On Thursday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed some of the “despicable comments made by a few Republicans about trans people,” without naming them.

“Their attacks on trans people in the transgender community are just mean. Mean,” the New York Democrat said sternly. “And show a complete lack of understanding, complete lack of empathy. They don’t represent our views and they don’t represent the views of a majority of Americans. Their despicable comments just make my blood boil with anger.”

One antagonistic act came from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: She hung a sign reading, “There are TWO genders: male & female” in the hall outside her door — facing the office of Rep. Marie Newman, whose daughter is transgender.

Greene, a Georgia Republican, tweeted video of the sign.

Earlier Wednesday, Newman had tweeted an image of the pink-and-blue transgender pride flag outside her own door.

Newman, an Illinois Democrat, acknowledged to CNN that the flag was meant to make a statement to Greene. “I felt as though she needed to hear from us,” she said. “And what I mean by that is that I just wanted to make a statement so that she sees LGBTQ+ people … so she has to see our community every day. I’m immensely proud of my daughter and that’s all anyone is asking for, is to be treated as anyone else, and that’s what I want Representative Greene to see.”

Greene’s action drew bipartisan backlash, including from Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, an outspoken critic of Greene.

“This is sad and I’m sorry this happened. Rep. Newman’s daughter is transgender, and this video and tweet represents the hate and fame-driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs,” Kinzinger tweeted, adding “this garbage must end” in order to restore the GOP.

Virginia Rep. Don Byer, a Democrat, tweeted Wednesday Greene’s “cyberbullying her colleague’s child” with an “ugly, bigoted attack is absolutely beyond the pale” and called for fellow lawmakers to support Newman.

Greene argued on the House floor against the Equality Act, saying it would “completely violate and destroy the rights of girls and women.”

She said the bill would “put trans rights above women’s rights, above the rights of our daughters, our sisters, our friends, our grandmothers, our aunts. It’s too much.”

The final vote was 224-206. Three Republicans — John Katko, Tom Reed and Brian Fitzpatrick — joined Democrats in voting for the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday he intends to bring this legislation to the floor.

Critics of the legislation argue it raises serious concerns for religious communities as well as women’s sports. Republicans point to a provision in the legislation saying an individual could not be denied access to a restroom, locker room or dressing room based on gender identity.

Opponents also say the bill could facilitate men participating in women’s sports if they identify as female.

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