Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has shown her support again to the transgender and non-binary community. But, this time, AOC criticized conservatives who mocked her using the phrase “menstruating people.”
When Did AOC Bring Up This Term?
AOC mentioned the term while being interviewed by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper about Texas’ new restrictive abortion law.
Throughout the conversation, AOC slammed Texas Governor Greg Abbott for making claims that the state’s new restrictions will not prevent rape victims from seeking abortions because they still have “at least six weeks” to terminate their pregnancy.
AOC said that Abbott’s comments were “disgusting” and that:
“I don’t know if he’s familiar with a menstruating person’s body. In fact, I do know that he’s not familiar with a female or menstruating person’s body because if he [were], he would know that you don’t have 6 weeks.”
AOC Breaking Down Basic Biology on National Television
AOC also apologized for having to break down “biology 101 on national television:”
“In case no one has informed him before in his life, six weeks pregnant means two weeks late for your period.”
“Two weeks late for your period for any person, any person with a menstrual cycle, can happen if you’re stressed, if your diet changes, or for really no reason at all. So, you don’t have six weeks.”
According to Planned Parenthood, 85% to 90% of Texans who obtain abortions are already at least six weeks into pregnancy.
Why Use an Inclusive Phrase Like “Menstruating People”?
Discussing menstruation in a social setting is imperative because it can reduce shame and misinformation happening thousands of years around this topic. When talking about menstruation or related issues, the phrase “menstruating people” includes people with periods who don’t identify as cisgender women; for example, transgender men, intersex, genderqueer or non-binary people.
Why Is the Language We Use Important?
People who do not identify within the standard definition of “women” can feel alienated, marginalized, and stigmatized. In addition, when people make health care issues gendered, it causes more barriers for LGBTQ+ people to access the care they need. In essence, people of all genders can have periods, and they deserve barrier-free access to support and information.
Who Reported on the Comment?
After AOC’s interview with Anderson Cooper, The Daily Mail then reported that her inclusion of trans and non-binary people with her language “drew mockery” from online conservative commentators. These commentators said that the phrase “erases the experience of women,” even though AOC herself is a cisgender woman.
How Did AOC Respond to the Criticisms Against Her?
To no one’s surprise, the trailblazing congresswoman stood up against the criticism and continued to stand up for the rights of trans and non-binary people. She told her followers that not all menstruators identify as women, and not all women menstruate. Her tweet said: “Trans men & non-binary people can also menstruate. Some women also * don’t* menstruate, including surviving cancer that required a hysterectomy.”
She then criticized the GOP for “protecting the patriarchal idea that women are most valuable as uterus holders.” She also wrote the following:
“Trans, two-spirit, and non-binary people have always existed and will always exist. People can stay mad about that if they want, or they can grow up.”
What Else Happened During AOC’s Interview With Anderson Cooper?
During her CNN interview, AOC also slammed Abbott’s comment about claiming that Texas’ top priority is to “eliminate rape.” The Republican governor said:
“Rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets.”
AOC pointed out Abbott’s “deep ignorance” when it comes to the realities of rape culture. Even though hoping and trying to create a world where sexual violence doesn’t exist is a nice idea, it is incredibly challenging to achieve.
In addition, AOC brought up that many instances of rape go unreported: “Frankly, there are many people in power, as we know from the #MeToo movement, that commits sexual assault,” and that powerful people have been known to “help their friends cover up these crimes” and “even serve in the same state legislatures that are voting on these anti-choice bills.”
What Are the Current Statistics on Sexual Violence Against Women?
According to the National Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), one in five women has survived “attempted or completed rape” at some point in their lifetime. In addition, a survey was conducted involving 33 colleges and discovered that a quarter of female undergraduates experienced some kind of sexual misconduct.
Are There Any Statistics on Sexual Violence Against Trans and Non-Binary People?
It should be noted that these numbers have not included sexual assault attempts or completions against trans and non-binary people. These members of the LGBTQ+ community are especially vulnerable to intimate partner violence and abuse.
What Is AOC’s History With Advocating for Trans Rights?
AOC has been a loud advocate for trans and non-binary people since first being elected to Congress in 2018.
She’s written many tweets in support of transgender people, like this one about trans kids:
Trans kids are awesome, incredible, beautiful, and wonderful. Bigotry is not. Republicans need to stop obsessing over other people’s gender identity bc frankly it’s very weird and they’re doing a lot of harm to children who are just trying to be themselves.
AOC also shouted out, “trans rights!” to over 700,000 audience members on a Twitch live stream.
One of AOC’s most famous clap backs when advocating for trans rights was after Qanon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) stated in a speech on the House floor that the Equality Act “completely annihilates women’s rights and religious freedoms.” AOC responded to her on Twitter that “women’s rights include trans women.”