At the start of the 117th Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) implemented a new rules package that in part revolved around making the House feel like a more welcoming, “gender-neutral” place for new LGBTQ members.
Pelosi bragged about the changes in a statement at the time, claiming it was House leadership’s wish to “honor all gender identities by changing pronouns and familial relationships in the House rules to be gender-neutral.”
Translation: Gendered terms will no longer be used in the House rule book for this session, and presumably going forward assuming Democrats maintain control of the House after 2022. Words like “mother” and “father,” though not banned, will now be frowned upon if used in House chambers.
Gender-neutral terms have been used often in the House since that time. For example, Democrats have purposely taken “man” and “woman” out of such words as “chairman” and “chairwoman.” While that may seem like a rather benign instance of using gender-neutral language, a different term was used last week during a House Oversight Committee hearing that again renewed the debate as to the wisdom of various attempts at gender-neutralizing America.
Freshman Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) testified during a hearing on “Birthing While Black.” During her testimony, Bush described her pregnancy experiences and how her doctors didn’t take her health concerns seriously, which she believes happened because she’s black.
Bush’s remarks were compelling, but it was how she referred to mothers at one point that got the most attention.
“I sit before you today as a single mom, as a nurse, as an activist, congresswoman, and I am committed to doing the absolute most to protect black mothers, to protect black babies, to protect black birthing people, and to save lives,” Bush stated.
In a tweet that went up during her testimony, Bush said “every day, black birthing people and our babies die because our doctors don’t believe our pain. My children almost became a statistic. I almost became a statistic.”
The pushback was swift.
“Referring to black mothers collectively as ‘black birthing people’ undermines their inherent dignity and humanity, which is the opposite of the congresswoman’s stated goal,” conservative commentator Becket Adams tweeted.
Actress Rose McGowan was outraged. “‘Birthing people’? I’m empathetic to your painful and unfairly traumatic experience, Cori Bush, but why are you smearing bio-women to virtue signal to trans women? Why can’t we rise together? Your language is creepy. You are gaslighting. What you are doing is dangerous.”
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who is another first-term member of Congress, took issue with Bush’s comments as well. “The left is so woke they’re stripping from women the one thing that only we can do.”
Instead of understanding how she had undercut her argument with her gender-neutral phrasing while discussing an important issue that is intrinsically women-centric, like pregnancy and childbirth, Bush responded to critics by of course accusing them of “transphobia and racism.”
“Republicans got more upset about me using gender-inclusive language in my testimony than my babies nearly dying,” she tweeted. “Racism and transphobia in America.”
In reality, none of what she said in her response was true. Republicans were upset because she undercut what was actually an important pro-life argument on respecting pregnant women’s voices by erasing women from the conversation altogether with the use of the term “birthing people” to describe something that only a woman, a mother, can do.
Sadly, the push to water down gendered terminology to the point it has no meaning anymore is not just taking place in Congress. It’s happening all over America, in public schools, on college campuses, in newsrooms and in the workplace.
People who oppose erasing gendered language from the public lexicon need to speak up now before it becomes too late to turn back on this insanity.
Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.