GOP Lawmaker Asks 14-Year-Old Trans Kid If They’re Getting the ‘Procedure’ - DMT NEWS

Breaking News

GOP Lawmaker Asks 14-Year-Old Trans Kid If They’re Getting the ‘Procedure’

A Republican lawmaker in Missouri questioned a 14-year-old transgender, nonbinary child about their genitals during a legislative committee hearing earlier this month, according to a stunning video posted online Wednesday by Human Rights Watch.

“Are you going to go through the procedure?” Sen. Elaine Gannon asks the child, Avery Jackson, seemingly referring to gender-affirming surgery, which is generally not available to a person until they turn 18, in the video. Audible groans followed.

Avery told VICE News it was the first time a random grownup—not a doctor, not a medical professional—had asked them that kind of question. Their mom, Debi Jackson, added that what the video didn’t show was her squeezing Avery’s hand in that moment, “almost in an attempt to have myself not jump up.” 

“You shouldn’t be asking—let alone a trans kid, any kid,” Avery said of Gannon’s question, noting that’s how a person gets put on a “watch list.” 

“But in this situation, it just doesn’t matter because they’re in higher power,” Avery said. 

The question came after Gannon described a situation in which someone would walk into “the ladies’ room,” only to realize “somebody else is in there that doesn’t have a female’s—has a male body instead of a female’s body.” 

The March 1 hearing, it should be noted, had nothing to do with bathroom access but instead concerned a bill that would ban transgender kids from playing on sports teams that align with their gender. Avery and Jackson had just finished testifying against that proposal before Gannon started her questions, which did not center on sports.

“It was never about sports,” Avery said. “They really still—after all this time—wanted to go back to: ‘You want to go in the right bathroom? Nah.’”

Republicans in Missouri—alongside those in Texas, Alabama, Idaho, and elsewhere—are once again forcing children to the front lines of a culture war by arguing that they’re unfairly dominating sports, or that the doctors who provide them with gender-affirming care should lose their licenses, or that they’re using the wrong bathrooms. Texas’ policy, which has been temporarily halted by a court, even goes as far as to threaten investigations into parents who allow their children to access gender-affirming care, which the state has likened to child abuse. 

Gannon’s office didn’t respond to VICE News’ request for comment, but her questions clearly rattled some people in the room. 

In the video, Avery, seemingly flustered, responded to Gannon’s question by saying, “You think we’re going around forcing our genitalia into people’s face. We’re trying to go to the bathroom, and what you want to do is not let people do that? Your whole argument here is the fact that you don’t want people to use the bathroom. A bathroom no one—yes, no one—is looking at your…”

“I was seriously just curious,” Gannon said.

“You’re asking a 14-year-old on public record about genitals and if people would see that,” said Jackson, who was seated beside Avery and has gone to legislative hearings in both Kansas and Missouri for several years to advocate for transgender rights. (Avery was also the first transgender person to be on the cover of National Geographic, back in January 2017.)

Jackson added, “Kids aren’t going around exposing themselves. Kids want to play sports with their friends. That’s what this bill is. And getting wrapped up in genitals in bathrooms gets us so far away from that, and it dehumanizes our children. My child is so much more than genitals. And that’s what I need you to see.” 

Gannon later apologized, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Jackson said, however, that she’s not satisfied with Gannon’s response, nor the lack of response from the committee chairperson, Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin. 

O’Laughlin apparently took offense and had cut Avery off during their testimony for making a comment about how the lawmakers probably already had their minds made up about what they were going to do, according to Jackson. But O’Laughlin didn’t step in during Gannon’s line of questioning to describe that as offensive. 

“I’m pretty sure any other adult in any other situation would have been charged with some sort of crime for asking questions like that of a 14-year-old,” Jackson said of Gannon. “And yet there's nothing done as a censure, there hasn't been a public statement from Gannon or from the committee chair.” 

O’Laughlin’s office also didn’t immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment. 

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.



via https://www.DMT.NEWS

Emma Ockerman, Khareem Sudlow