Politics

Tulsi Gabbard tells Tucker Carlson gender-neutral language denies the “existence of women”

Tulsi Gabbard went on white nationalist Tucker Carlson's show to complain about gender-neutral language.
Tulsi Gabbard went on white nationalist Tucker Carlson's show to complain about gender-neutral language. Photo: Screenshot/Twitter/Fox News

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) went on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to complain about gender-neutral language that the U.S. House will soon be using, like replacing “Chairman” and “Chairwoman” with “Chair.”

“It’s the height of hypocrisy for people who claim to be the champions of rights for women to deny the very biological existence of women,” Gabbard told Carlson.

Related: Tulsi Gabbard introduces anti-trans legislation that could lead to genital exams for school girls

Gabbard ran in the Democratic presidential primary in 2020 and faced strong criticism for her past work as an anti-LGBTQ activist, even working for an organization that supported conversion therapy.

Earlier this week, House Democrats voted in favor of a package of rules changes for the incoming Congress, and the new rules included several moves toward gender-neutral language. Words that signify gender like “mother” or “seamen” are to be replaced with words like “parent” and “seafarer,” and phrases like “himself or herself” will be replaced with “themself.”

Democratic leadership said that the changes made language more “inclusive, efficient, and accurate.” But Gabbard disagrees, and she went on Republican network FOX to complain about the language changes.

“How does it empower women to ban the acknowledgement that women exist?” Carlson asked.

It goes without saying that House Democrats did not ban the acknowledgement that women exist, but Gabbard was willing to run with that framing.

“It’s mind-blowing,” Gabbard said, “because it shows just how out-of-touch with reality and the struggles of everyday Americans people in Congress are.”

“Their first act as this new Congress could have been to make sure that elderly Americans are able to get the COVID vaccine now alongside frontline health care workers,” Gabbard continued.

Of course, the new session of Congress only started this week, rules changes for the new session are generally the first thing the new Congress does, and there’s nothing about using gender-neutral language that prevents elderly people from getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Carlson went on to say that “the very people who claim to celebrate diversity, differences” are “trying to impose this creepy, corporate sameness.”

“I don’t know how to explain what they think,” Gabbard said, laughing. “And this is why Congressman Markwayne Mullin and I, we introduced my legislation, the Protect Women’s Sports Act,” which would ban transgender girls and women from school sports.

Before Gabbard was elected to Congress, she worked for one of her father’s anti-LGBTQ organizations, the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, which she later cited as a positive experience when she ran for the state legislature in 2002.

“Working with my father, Mike Gabbard, and others to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage, I learned that real leaders are willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good,” she told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin at the time.

The Alliance for Traditional Marriage’s website, which appears to have been written by Gabbard’s father, had an FAQ that promoted conversion therapy, telling people that “a person can walk away from homosexuality if they are repentant, sincere, and determined” and “for those who experience the urge for sexual activity with someone of the same sex, it’s possible to overcome those sexual desires, no matter how powerful they may be.”

When asked about this, she said that she personally never supported conversion therapy and in early 2019 she made a video apologizing for her anti-LGBTQ past. She said that her views had changed, but she was still accusing Democrats of “fomenting religious bigotry” for saying that Christian judges should not impose their religious beliefs on others.

During her presidential campaign, Gabbard refused to respond to an HRC questionnaire on LGBTQ issues that all the other major Democratic candidates responded to. Now that she has introduced an anti-transgender bill, though, it’s possible that she refused to respond to the questionnaire because she didn’t want to draw attention to her views on LGBTQ issues during the primary.

Gabbard lost the primary and endorsed Joe Biden, and she did not run for reelection for Congress.

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