Arkansas State Senator Matt McKee (R) interviewed a transgender pharmacist this week and asked during the Judiciary Committee hearing whether the biological male had a penis, prompting freakouts throughout the media sphere.
Little Rock pharmacist Gwendolyn Herzig appeared before the Judiciary Committee to testify against SB199, whose purpose is to protect minors from procedures designed to cross gender — a biological impossibility. But McKee made waves after asking Herzig to reveal just how far the transgender woman has gone in her transition.
“You said you were a trans woman?” McKee asked.
Herzig reiterated that he considered himself a trans woman and urged the senator to investigate.
“Do you have a penis?” he asked, triggering audible anger from others in the room.
Herzig paused, looked at the senator and replied, “That’s terrible.”
“You brought that into the discussion,” the senator replied:
Herzig, a man who believes he is a woman, told lawmakers, “I don’t know what my rights are, but that question was grossly inappropriate.”
“I’m a medical professional, doctor,” Herzig added. “Please treat me the same way. Next question please.”
The question attracted media attention as many expressed their outrage and disgust.
“Republicans do not hide their transphobia. TODAY, a senator on the Judiciary Committee asked a doctor if she “had a penis,” and another claimed that gender-affirming nursing was a TikTok conspiracy out of China,” the Arkansas Democratic Party claimed, blasting the measure at the center of the controversy. that went through the committee this week. The measure itself prevents doctors from performing transgender surgery on minors or treating them with hormones — cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers, according to the legislation — to “confirm” their chosen gender, as it allows victims of these so-called “treatments” to sue , once they have reached adulthood for up to 30 years:
Republicans do not hide their transphobia.
TODAY, a senator on the Judiciary Committee asked a doctor if she “had a penis,” and another claimed gender-affirming nursing was a TikTok conspiracy originating in China.
Then they passed #SB199 create malpractice law for life saving care. pic.twitter.com/kvllGCcwnX
— Arkansas Democratic Party (@ArkDems) February 13, 2023
On social media Fox News described the back-and-forth as a “shocking exchange,” while NBC News spoke to Herzig, who described it as “probably the most publicly humiliating thing I’ve ever been through.”
Alejandra Caraballo, Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, described the exchange as “absolutely disgusting”. Business Insider also ran an article on the subject, describing it as a GOP lawmaker questioning a “transgender pharmacist about her genitals during a law hearing.”
The outlet also spoke to Herzig, who told Insider: “I just like being frozen because I was just trying to process what just happened. I’m like, ‘How do I even react to this?’”
Herzig told the outlet that the exchange was “simply appalling” and dehumanizing.
“I felt like I had a lot of knowledge and a lot of lived experience that I could have shared and hopefully opened some eyes,” he told Insider. “But they weren’t even interested in hearing that. You just wanted to make a very rude and inappropriate comment.”
Also the LGBTQ+ media brand PinkNews covered the story, which highlights Herzig’s essay in the Independent, in which he claims the exchange was “absolutely humiliating.”
hearty wrote part:
In a room full of people being streamed and broadcast, I testified before our elected senators as my lived experience, community service, PhD and most importantly, my humanity were reduced to a single body part. I did not answer. I asked for my rights, demanded decency and said I would move on to the next question. For me there were no more questions. I returned to my seat, determined to show solidarity while fighting back the tears in my eyes.
Others also reported on the exchange:
🚨🇺🇸Republicans are no longer hiding their transphobia.
Arkansas Senator Matt McKee asked a #transgender woman during a legislative hearing if she had a penis? 🏳️⚧️ pic.twitter.com/mSQbYv81HB
— Terror Alert (@Terror_Alarm) February 15, 2023
Republican Arkansas Senator Matt McKee asks a transgender pharmacist if she has a penis.
The reaction says it all. pic.twitter.com/u6VkOQGMh5
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) February 15, 2023
Arkansas Senator Matt McKee’s questions to a transgender doctor drew audible gasps and outrage from the Senate Judiciary. https://t.co/CXpLsNioEP
— Radar Online (@radar_online) February 15, 2023
“I am a transgender doctor. What happened to me in front of the Arkansas Senate was absolutely humiliating
The crusade to denigrate those who seek only to live as their authentic selves is bewildering,” writes Gwendolyn Herzig
— Socialist Voice ⭑ (@SocialistVoice) February 16, 2023
Especially during a performance The Transgender Show Just a few weeks ago, Herzig spoke publicly about his desire to undergo genital reconstructive surgery (GRS).
“For me personally, the GRS is the biggest I wish for. I don’t know, personal preference,” Herzig said.