2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has made some controversial statements on transgender people, saying that cisgender women have “legitimate concerns” about the existence of trans women, reported Out.
The former Secretary of State and her daughter Chelsea Clinton was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday (November 12) to promote their book The Book of Gutsy Women, a profile of 100 brave and influential women. During the interview, BBC’s Mishal Husain asked the Clintons about Virginia Delegate Danica Roem, the first transgender person to be re-elected to a state legislature in history, who is profiled in their book.
“I find her so inspiring and gutsy,” Chelsea said of Roem.
Husain then asked Hillary if she found it “difficult” to accept and include someone who “self-identifies” as a woman.
“Well, I do think there is a legitimate concern about women’s lived experience and the importance of recognizing that, and also the importance of recognizing the self-identification,” she replied, without clarifying what that “concern” was. “This is all relatively new. People are still trying to find the language for it, trying to sort it out. I think in the right mindset this can be understood, but it’s going to take some time.”
People on social media lambasted Clinton for the comment, noting that transgender people aren’t “relatively new,” and likened her to TERFs—Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists.
Saying “it’s going to take time” is a rotten way to communicate that you care more about the comfort of cisgender ppl than the dignity and worth of transgender human beings.
We need to stop infantalizing cisgender women. There is no “legitimate concern”. https://t.co/92VAbU4Xzv
— Laura Hoge, LCSW, LCADC (@LauraHoge) November 15, 2019
Hillary Clinton thinks transgender is something new. pic.twitter.com/JafqP0Neme
— Jehane ☃️ (@Jehane94) November 14, 2019
During her time as Secretary of State, Clinton made it easier for transgender people to update their gender on passports, and in 2016 she spoke out against North Carolina’s infamous “bathroom bill.” She also promised to “work to protect transgender individuals from violence…and invest in law enforcement training focused on fair and impartial policing” during her presidential campaign, according to the LGBTQ rights and equality section of her website.
However, these comments reflect a similar sentiment Clinton expressed in an interview with the Sunday Times a few weeks ago. She was asked about a hypothetical trans woman “with a beard and a penis” by the interviewer.
“I think you’ve got to be sensitive to how difficult this is,” she replied. “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 tell me you’re the same as me.’ I hear that conversation all the time.”