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Hillary and Chelsea Clinton have very different opinions on transgender identity

Josh Milton October 14, 2019

Hillary Clinton (L) and her daughter Chelsea Clinton. (Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Hillary and her daughter Chelsea Clinton almost always see eye-to-eye on things, but in a recent interview, the mother-daughter team had a rather awkward difference of opinion over trans identities.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Hillary, 71, and Chelsea, 39, exchange laughs and even mirror one another’s body language.

But Chelsea visibly stiffened at she and her mother’s run-in on trans identities, something they sought to clarify they “don’t argue about”.

Hillary Clinton is “just learning about” trans identities. 

The Clintons sat down with journalists Decca Aitkenhead in New York, US, to promote the book they co-authored, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favourite Stories of Courage and Resilience.

One woman featured in the text is Danica Roem, the first openly trans person to be elected to a US state legislature. That queued Aitkenhead’s pertinent question: ‘If someone with a beard and a penis can ever be a woman’?

Chelsea replied with an emphatic and perky: “Ye-essss. Yes.”

Former US Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) and Chelsea Clinton arrive to the book signing of their new book "The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories for Courage and Resilience" at Barnes & Noble Union Square on October 3, 2019 in New York City. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) and Chelsea Clinton arrive to the book signing of their new book The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories for Courage and Resilience at Barnes & Noble Union Square on October 3, 2019 in New York City. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

But her mother looked “uneasy”.

“Errr,” Hillary hesitated.

“I’m just learning about this. It’s a very big generational discussion, because this is not something I grew up with or ever saw,” she explained.

“It’s going to take a lot more time and effort to understand what it means to be defining yourself differently.”

According to Aitkenhead’s account, she told Hillary that “a lot of British feminists of Hillary’s generation […] have a problem with the idea [of a] lesbian who doesn’t want to sleep with someone who has a penis is transphobic”.

Hillary nodded in agreement, while Chelsea “stiffens and stares” Aitkenhead, she claimed.

Renowned feminist of Hillary’s generation, Gloria Steinem, used to be trans-exclusionary. But she has since reevaluated her view point and supports inclusivity.

Hillary Clinton blames generational differences for not being as open to trans rights. 

Aitkenhead then honed in on how the UK’s public healthcare system, the NHS, have announced that patients will now be assigned to single-sex wards that align with their gender identity.

This is something that would make “British feminists of Hillary’s generation” similarly uncomfortable, Hillary felt: “I would say that, absolutely. Absolutely. Yes.”

However, that’s when Chelsea began shooting a “furious stare” at Aitkenhead, who pointed it out to her.

“I’m a terrible actor”, Chelsea laughed.

Chelsea Clinton (L), and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) listens as former President Bill Clinton speaks. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Chelsea Clinton (L), and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) listens as former President Bill Clinton speaks. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Chelsea conversely cheered on the NHS’s move, explaining: “I am thrilled by the NHS’s decision. Because how can you treat someone if you don’t recognise who they feel and know in their core they are?

“And I strongly support children being able to play on the sports teams that match their own gender identity. I think we need to be doing everything we can to support kids in being whoever they know themselves to be and discovering who they are.”

As her daughter championed trans rights next to her, Hillary is said to have looked visibly conflicted.

“I think you’ve got to be sensitive to how difficult this is,” Hillary said.

“There are women who’d say [to a trans woman], ‘You know what, you’ve never had the kind of life experiences that I’ve had. So I respect who you are, but don’t tell me you’re the same as me.’

“I hear that conversation all the time.”

The tension is reportedly thick in the room, but the pair reassured the reporter that the topic is not something they “argue” about.

However, as Aitkenhead inferred: “I get the impression they don’t like to present anything less than a united front to the world.”

Hillary’s apparent conflict comes after she reaffirmed her support for the trans community earlier this year on the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

More: chelsea clinton, Hilary Clinton, NHS, Trans

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