Election 2024

Lauren Boebert confuses everyone with bizarre attack on Joe Biden & trans people

U.S. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.
Photo: Gage Skidmore

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) thought she finally found proof that President Joe Biden doesn’t really respect transgender women’s identities, but she left people more confused than anything else.

“Trans women (also known as men) will be forced to sign up for the draft,” she tweeted yesterday. “Looks like Joe Biden has just officially confirmed what a woman is and what a woman isn’t.”

Sex, apparently, is assigned by the Selective Service System.

The first part of her tweet that was confusing is that there currently is no draft in the U.S., nor is there talk of restarting the draft any time soon. All people assigned male at birth must register with Selective Service between the ages of 18 and 25,  but that’s not the same thing as a draft.

So why is she bringing it up now? Some people were joking online yesterday about how they’ll tell their sons to identify as women so that they don’t have to register for Selective Service, which some people bothered to look up and found that the requirement to register with Selective Services is based on sex assigned at birth, not gender identity. This got some attention on right-wing news sites, and Boebert may have read about it there, possibly for the first time.

It’s also strange to blame Biden since he didn’t create the Selective Service System and Congress would have to act for it to change. The Selective Service System was created by the Selective Service Act of 1917 – before Biden was even born – and it was for men only at the time of its creation.

The Biden administration is actually in favor of opening up Selective Service registration to everyone, regardless of sex assigned at birth, just like the Obama administration was.

The Biden administration supported a proposal to open up men-only registration in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), but both the House and the Senate Armed Services committees dropped the proposal to help get the NDAA passed.

“The move is a victory for conservatives who fought to strip the provision” to require everyone to register for Selective Service regardless of sex assigned at birth, Politico reported at the time.

People on Twitter generally expressed confusion about what Boebert meant while others called her out for referring to trans women as men.

All people assigned male at birth – trans women, cis men, and AMAB nonbinary people – must register for Selective Service within 30 days of their eighteenth birthday, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). Failure to register can be punished with prison and fines, although prosecution is rare.

The real consequences are that many government benefits – like financial aid for college, citizenship, and future government employment – are tied to registering for Selective Service.

Trans men, cis women, and AFAB nonbinary people cannot register. For trans men, this can create problems when applying for federal benefits like financial aid because they have to get a letter from the Selective Service System explaining that they are exempt and effectively outing them as trans.

While Boebert apparently just found out about the sexist nature of Selective Service registration, Congressional Democrats have pushed for change for years, without success. In 2017, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) tried to include a provision in a larger military spending bill to require everyone to register for Selective Service.

“If it does come to a draft, men and women should be treated equally,” Speier said at the time.

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