Democratic Hawaii Representative and former 2020 Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard hit back at the detractors of the legislation she introduced on Thursday that would strip transgender girls and women of their ability to engage in competitive athletics across the United States. Although the legislation is yet to be enacted, a lot of people have already been slamming Gabbard as "transphobic" and a "right wing s**t heel" on social media.
Gabbard, however, is unmoved and has called them "hypocrites" and said that she welcomes criticism. The bill introduced by Gabbard stresses on Title IX, which protects individuals from discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive federal funding.
Gabbard has been subject to some hate messages on Twitter, with many calling her 'transphobic' since the day she introduced the legislation. However, she has snapped back at her critics and has said that she is open to all kinds of criticism.
"I welcome real criticism and debate," Gabbard told The New York Post on Saturday. "But my so-called critics don't want to debate the issues. They just want to engage in smears and slurs and name-calling and innuendo." Gabbard, who declined to run for re-election in 2020 and is in the final days of her Congressional term, said that she is putting the time left to "maximum use" and that she cares for the United States and also fears for the nation.
Gabbard has been the target of Democrats for quite some time and she says that the recent reactions and backlash are just an extension of that. If implemented into law, the bill would deny federal funding to schools that "permit a person whose biological sex at birth is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls." It was immediately slammed by advocates of LGBTQ+.
Her Many Critics
Gabbard, since the introduction of the bill, has been maintaining that it doesn't discriminate against anyone. Instead, it tries to "protect the rights of biological females competing in sports against having to compete against biological men who identify as female."
LBGTQ rights advocate Charlotte Clymer was one of first ones to call the legislation "blatantly transphobic." She accused Gabbard supporters of using trans people as "bargaining chips."
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, concurred, describing Gabbard's "play for attention" as "embarrassing" in a statement. But Gabbard knew that the backlash was in the coming.
"The real reason why so many people are upset by my Title IX legislation is that it recognizes the biological distinction between men and women," Gabbard told the media outlet.
The backlash against her new bills, Gabbard said, echoes the blowback she got during her failed presidential bid because she didn't go along with Democratic Party narratives. Gabbard also told the media outlet that she experienced what she called the double standard around the diversity issue during her presidential bid. Although she qualifies as a woman of color because she is part Samoan, Gabbard said she was effectively discriminated against because she's defied so much of what her own party stands for.