Kamala Harris outlines LGBT rights plans, gets confused about trans women
Speaking to Don Lemon at a town hall debate hosted by CNN on Monday night (April 22), the attorney, 54, laid out her history in supporting queer and trans people using law.
“As Attorney General, [LGBT+ rights] was one of the pivotal issues,” Harris said. “Prop 8 went to the United States Supreme Court, we won, and wedding bells rang across the country.”
Harris, who has previously served as District Attorney for San Francisco, said she went above and beyond to educate other prosecutors about LGBT+ cases.
“Around the Matthew Shepard era,” she explained, “I brought DAs [District Attorneys] from around the country to San Francisco where I hosted training for prosecutors around the country, on how to defeat the ‘gay panic defence.'”
Confusion over trans men and women
Despite her show of support for the LGBT+ community, Harris has been criticised for her apparent confusion between trans men and trans women.
I'm not sure Kamala knows the difference between trans women and trans men based on her response in the #CNNTownHall
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) April 23, 2019
Harris, speaking about her ‘gay panic defence’ theory, said: “You’ll remember the tragic cases involving transgender men who were killed.” Some viewers argued due to the nature of the topic, she was speaking about trans women.
“There was this defence that was happening in court, where the murderer was calling it the gay panic defence, ‘Oh I panicked because I didn’t know he was gay, and therefore I should not be convicted of murder,'” she said.
One person wrote on Twitter: “I’m not sure Kamala knows the difference between trans women,” while another wrote: “why did you misgender trans women during tonight’s town hall? This is not something a President should be making mistakes on.”
I appreciate this, but why did you misgender trans women during tonight's town hall? This is not something a President should be making mistakes on when trans rights are so important and yet so tenuous. I'd expect this of a Republican.
— Erica Windisch (@ewindisch) April 23, 2019
A long commitment to LGBT+ rights
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Harris also addressed the Trump administration’s ban on trans people in the military.
“We have a president who is basically putting in place a process for discharging transgender men and women who have made a commitment to our country,” the attorney said.
The 2020 presidential candidate also commented on how long she’s been an ally of the LGBT+ community.
“Back in 2004 when the chatter among a bunch of Democrats was about civil unions, I was marrying same-sex couples at San Francisco city hall,” she said.
The CNN town hall event also saw Harris speak about the sex work industry, which she said needs to be “decriminalised,” in order to protect vulnerable women.