Law

Republican condemned for grilling child with appallingly invasive questions about their genitals

Josh Milton March 16, 2022
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A Senate hearing seeing a senator grill a trans child and her mother

Missouri senator Elaine Gannon grilled a 14-year-old on what genitals they have. (Screen captures via Twitter)

A Missouri Republican has been blasted by LGBT+ activists for probing a trans child with “invasive” questions about her genitalia.

During a Senate Education Committee hearing debating a bill to ban trans girls in school sports, senator Elaine Gannon quizzed a 14-year-old on what genitals they have.

Gannon, a former school gym coach who now represents the third district, used terms such as “he-she” throughout the 1 March meeting, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

She then took aim at Avery Jackson, who has become something of a poster child for trans rights after she graced the front cover of National Geographic in 2017.

In startling footage posted by the Human Rights Campaign Wednesday (16 March), Gannon can be seen grilling Avery about her use of washrooms as she vastly goes off-topic from SB 781, the so-called “Save Women’s Sports Act“.

“You’re in the ladies’ room,” she said, “and then you realise somebody else is in there that doesn’t have – has a male body, instead of a female’s body.

“I mean, it just causes some issues there.”

“No it doesn’t,” Avery sharply rebuffed. “You should let people go to the bathroom.”

Gannon then dismisses Avery’s reply, saying, “They probably don’t realise because you have such long hair,” effectively unravelling her own argument. “Are you gonna go through the procedure?”

Yes, she really did ask a 14-year-old this.

“You think we’re going around forcing our genitalia in people’s face?” Avery hit back. “We’re trying to use the bathroom. And what you want to do is not let people do that?”

Gannon then interrupted her to say she was “just curious”.

Avery’s mother, Debi, then stands up for her daughter. “You’re asking a 14-year-old on public record about genitals and if people could see that. How would anyone know?”

Debi recounted how her family have been attending sessions with lawmakers seeking to curtail Avery’s rights for seven years trying to help legislators “understand” the realities of trans youth.

“Kids aren’t going around exposing themselves to kids wanting to play sports with their friends,” Debi said. “That’s what the bill is and getting wrapped up in bathrooms gets us so far away from that.

“It dehumanises our children. My children is so much more than genitals.

“That’s what every family who has come in here, year after year, is begging you, demanding that you see.”

Debi added that she has no idea what Gannon’s “genitals are”. She has neither made an assumption on nor wants to ask her that question “because it’s, frankly, inappropriate”.

The committee’s Republican chair Cindy O’Laughlin allowed Gannon to take this line of questioning, deeply alarming advocacy groups. Gannon later apologised for the “inappropriate” inquiry.

The HRC skewered Gannon for asking such an “incredibly inappropriate and invasive line of questioning about their body”.

“This woman shouldn’t be within 500 feet of a 14-year-old,” said Ari Drennen, an LGBT+ program director for Media Matters, “let alone making the laws that govern her life.”

“Inappropriate comments from the GOP rarely shock me anymore,” added Wisconsin representative Mark Pocan, “but in what universe is it ever okay to question a 14-year-old on the record about their genitalia?”

Sponsored by senator Mike Moon, the measure would bar athletes “of the male sex assigned at birth” in middle, high or post-secondary schools from participating on an “athletic team or sport designated for females, women, or girls”.

It’s the latest in at least 160 anti-LGBT+ laws being crammed into statehouse dockets by Republicans, according to legislative tracker Freedom for All Americans.

More: Missouri

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