Human Rights Campaign national press secretary Sarah McBride, a transgender woman and the first trans person to speak at a national political convention, was interrupted in a meeting Wednesday by two self-proclaimed feminists spouting anti-transgender rhetoric.
McBride was conferring with a colleague when Posie Parker and Julia Long barged in, accusing her of hating lesbians and wanting to rescind protections for women and girls. They also misgendered her.
“This is Sarah McBride. He gets paid probably quite a lot of money to lobby the government to try and make sure that women and girls have no right to any space anymore,” Parker said in the video, which was shared on Facebook.
Parker and Long also accused McBride and other trans activists of enabling sexual assault by upholding the right of trans women to be held in women’s prisons, citing a recent U.K. case of such an assault — an extremely rare occurrence. Trans women housed with male prisoners are at high risk of being sexually assaulted.
McBride did not respond to the women throughout their two-minute rant. She had just come from a meeting with members of Congress and parents of trans youth to discuss the Equality Act, pending legislation that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Parker and Long were particularly critical of the bill.
Activists like Parker and Long are often called trans-exclusionary radical feminists, or TERFs. The Heritage Foundation, a far-right, anti-LGBTQ group, this week hosted a panel of four people espousing such views. Parker and Long were not on the panel, but HRC officials said the two women, who are British, had been invited here by Heritage for the event.
“It is disturbing but not at all surprising that anti-transgender extremists brought to the United States at the behest of the Heritage Foundation would stoop to harassing a transgender woman and parents of transgender youth,” Olivia Dalton, HRC’s senior vice president for communications and marketing, told Gay Star News, which was the first outlet to report the incident.
“That the targeted harassment occurred following a moving meeting between parents of trans kids and members of Congress reinforces the massive gap between our message of love and their agenda of bigotry. No one advocating for their basic human rights should face such hate and hostility, and shame on the Heritage Foundation for fostering this kind of atmosphere.”
McBride tweeted the following:
The sad truth is that this kind of harassment is the reality for far too many transgender people, particularly trans women of color, across the country and around the world.
— Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride) January 30, 2019
Laverne Cox, Chelsea Clinton, Danica Roem, and others tweeted their support to McBride.
So sorry this happened to you Sarah. Thank you for foregrounding the vital, life saving work of valuing the lives of trans people especially trans children. #TransIsBeautiful #WeWontBeErased https://t.co/agLUtXWRG0
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) January 30, 2019
I am so sorry this happened Sarah. Thank you for all your work, particularly on behalf of our transgender youth. Sending extra hugs & love your way.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) January 30, 2019
My friend @SarahEMcBride is an amazing woman, trailblazer and genuinely decent person.
She's dedicated her life to equality and equity, persevering over hate and with the infinite grief of losing her husband, all to make our world a better place.
I adore her and her resilience. https://t.co/jyIfIj44a0
— Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) January 30, 2019
So sorry this happened to you. Thank you for all you do for trans equality and acceptance. ❤️
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 30, 2019