Sen. Rand Paul is under fire for calling gender reassignment surgery for minors ‘genital mutilation’ during a confirmation hearing for openly transgender Deputy HHS Secretary nominee Dr. Rachel Levine.
Senator Rand Paul was trending high on Twitter again on Feb. 26 for yet another outrageous reason. During a confirmation hearing for Deputy Heath and Human Services Secretary candidate Dr. Rachel Levine, Paul asked the openly transgender woman about allowing minors to undergo gender reassignment surgery, saying children and teens and are too young to make such a life changing decision to their bodies, likening it to “genital mutilation.”
“We should be outraged that someone is talking to a three-year-old about changing their sex,” Paul stated about transgender minors. He then began his line of question of Levine by saying, “Genital mutilation has been nearly universally condemned. Most genital mutilation is not typical performed by force. But, as [the World Health Organization] notes, that by social convention, social norm, the social pressure to conform, to do what others do and have been doing, as well as the need to be accepted socially and the fear of being rejected by the community.”
Senator Rand Paul began his questioning at Dr. Rachel Levine’s confirmation hearing by asking pointedly about “genital mutilation.” Levine replied that she’d be happy to discuss the “complex and nuanced field” of transgender medicine with him. https://t.co/xhnWsK9rdx pic.twitter.com/dOhTq276YV
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 25, 2021
Paul continued, “American culture is now normalizing the idea that minors can be given hormones to prevent their biological development of their secondary sexual characteristics,” and asked, “Dr. Levine, you have supported allowing minors to be given hormone blockers to prevent them from going through puberty, as well as surgical destruction of a minor’s genitalia. Do you believe minors are capable of making such a life changing decision of changing one’s sex?”
Dr. Levine — the current secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health — told Paul that transgender medicine is “a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed” over time. She added, “If I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed, I will look forward to working with you and your office and coming to your office to discuss the particulars of the standards of care for transgender medicine.”
These Rand Paul questions likening transgender medicine to genital mutilation — to Dr. Levine, a highly qualified trans woman seeking to become the first openly trans person to earn Senate confirmation — are sick, regressive, stigmatizing, and transphobic.
— Thom Scher (@thomscher) February 25, 2021
in less than 24 hours you have marjorie taylor greene attacking a colleague’s trans daughter and rand paul asking transphobic questions to dr. levine, a trans woman, during her confirmation hearing. we need to stand up for the trans community more than ever
— Andrew Palmer (@andrewDC_) February 25, 2021
Some Twitter users called Rand’s line of questioning to Dr. Levine “disrespectful.” Journalist Amee Vanderpool tweeted, “Rand Paul decides to lecture the first transgender nominee, Dr. Rachel Levine, about sexual re-assignment surgery and erroneously likens it to ‘genital mutilation.’ I don’t know which is worse: his bigoted and disrespectful behavior or those praising it.”
New York writer Nick Jack Pappas tweeted, “Rand Paul just went on an unhinged transphobic rant when questioning Dr. Rachel Levine, who is transgender. It’s always interesting how libertarians claim that people should be left alone, but then expect everyone to conform to their personal views.” User @JakeLobin wrote, “Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s dangerous & transphobic questioning of Dr. Rachel Levine (a transgender woman who is Biden’s nominee for Assistant Health Secretary), shows exactly why the Trans Community needs protections from bigots like Rand Paul.” If confirmed, Levine will work under Biden’s HHS Secretary nominee, current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Transgender rights are human rights — and the House made that clear today by passing the Equality Act.
Now it's time for the Senate to do the same.
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 26, 2021
While Paul’s questioning was going on in the Senate, the House passed the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It now heads to the Senate and if passed, will be signed into law by a supportive President Joe Biden. He tweeted, “Transgender rights are human rights — and the House made that clear today by passing the Equality Act. Now it’s time for the Senate to do the same.”