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Missouri GOP Lawmaker Sparks Outrage After Asking Nonbinary Teen To Go On Record About Their Genitals

Missouri GOP Lawmaker Sparks Outrage After Asking Nonbinary Teen To Go On Record About Their Genitals

Republican Elaine Gannon, a Missouri state senator, sparked significant outrage after she asked a nonbinary teenager to go on record about their genitals during a meeting regarding transgender students playing sports.

The teenager, a 14-year-old named Avery who toldThe Advocate they had been testifying against anti-trans bills with their mother “for years,” appeared incredulous when they heard Gannon's line of questioning.

The video, taken during a hearing to discuss Missouri State Senate Bill No. 781, a measure that would ban trans women and girls from participating in sports teams that match their gender identity first garnered attention on Reddit before catching the eye of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

You can watch the video below.

The Missouri GOP state senator began with the following:

“You’re in the ladies’ room and then you realize somebody else in there doesn’t have a female’s … has a male body instead of a female’s body. I mean, it just causes some issues there."

When Avery told her there is no issue, stressing Gannon should simply "let people go to the bathroom" and noting school bathrooms have several toilets with stalls, Gannon told Avery other people "don’t realize because you have such long hair."

Gannon then proceeded to ask Avery if they were "going to go through the procedure," a reference to gender affirmation surgery.

Avery, visibly taken aback, challenged Gannon's question:

“You think we’re going around forcing our genitalia in people’s faces? We’re trying to go to the bathroom. … No one is looking at your genitals.”

Avery's mother, Debi Jackson, clarified the question, demanding if Gannon was "asking a 14-year-old on public record about genitals and if people could see that." Gannon simply responded she was "seriously just curious."

The exchange soon went viral and many criticized Gannon, charging transphobic GOP lawmakers are "obsessed" with childrens' genitalia.

In recent years, Republicans have ramped up their attacks against transgender people and the suggestion that they might have an unfair advantage in the sports arena has become a prominent culture war topic.

In August 2021, to cite just one example, Colorado Republican Representative Lauren Boebert was criticized after she amplified a transphobic tweet alleging that transgender Olympian Laurel Hubbard transitioned just so she could win a medal.

Boebert alleged that athletes like Hubbard have an unfair advantage due to the biological advantages of going through puberty as a male. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) found that Hubbard met all the requirements for transgender athletes to compete.

Concerns about "bathroom predators" have also galvanized the right, perhaps most prominently during early 2016, when the North Carolina legislature passed a bill overturning local gay and transgender protections. The bill was a direct response to a prior nondiscrimination ordinance in the city of Charlotte, which had offered a wide range of protections.

Most notably, the Charlotte ordinance allowed citizens to use the restroom that best matches their gender identity. State lawmakers acted ostensibly out of concern that women and children could be victimized by sexual predators posing as transgender to enter women’s restrooms, a claim that was immediately contested by civil rights groups.