Law professor Khiara Bridges called out U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley over transphobia at a hearing Tuesday on abortion rights, and she pointed out that one can fight for rights of various groups of people simultaneously.
Hawley, an anti-LGBTQ+, antichoice Republican from Missouri — which outlawed abortion minutes after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — asked Bridges why she was using the phrase “people with a capacity for pregnancy” instead of saying “women” when talking about the effects of abortion restrictions. “Would that be women?” he asked Bridges, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
“Many cis women have the capacity for pregnancy; many cis women do not have the capacity for pregnancy,” she replied. “There are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy as well as nonbinary people who are capable of pregnancy.”
“So this isn’t really a women’s rights issue,” Hawley said.
“We can recognize that this impacts women while also recognizing that it impacts other groups,” Bridges explained. “Those things are not mutually exclusive.”
“So your view is that the core of this right is about what?” the senator said.
“I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic and it opens trans people up to violence,” the professor said.
Hawley questioned how he could be contributing to anti-trans violence, to which Bridges responded that he’s denying trans people exist, and she pointed out the risks they face. “I want to note that one in five transgender persons have attempted suicide,” she said. She asked if Hawley believes men can become pregnant, and he said he does not, and she said that’s denying the existence of trans people.
He went on to ask how she runs her class. “Are students allowed to question you, or are they also treated like this?” he said, as if she was treating him badly.
Bridges said students are definitely allowed to question her. “We have a good time in my class,” she said. “You should join. You might learn something.”
The exchange has gone viral online. A TikTok video featuring it has more than 53,000 views and the below clip has almost 3 million.
Bridges to Hawley: I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic pic.twitter.com/rCeVaB3XJY
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 12, 2022