Trans pharmacist asked if she ‘has a penis’ during senate hearing speaks out: ‘Dehumanising’

Gwendolyn Herzig looks shocked during a judiciary committee.

A trans pharmacist, Gwendolyn Herzig, has written about how “utterly mortifying” it was to be asked about her genitalia during an Arkansas Senate committee meeting.

Herzig, a doctor of pharmacy, was speaking in support of gender-affirming care for young trans people in front of an Arkansas Senate committee when senator Matt McKee asked her whether she had a penis.

The question was immediately met with audible boos by attendees who called it “shameful,” while Herzig replied: “That’s horrible.”

Herzig expressed her dismay at the “dehumanising” treatment in an essay for The Independent on Thursday (16 February).

“I have never been so publicly humiliated in all my life,” she wrote.

“In a room full of people, being streamed and broadcast, I was testifying before our elected senators when my lived experience, community outreach, doctoral degree, and most importantly my humanity, was reduced to a single body part.”

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Gwendolyn Herzig was brought in to discuss the ramifications of Senate Bill 199 (SB199), which was filed by Republican senator Gary Stubblefield.

If passed, the law would prevent transgender under-18s from accessing medical services, including physically reversible puberty blockers.

Matt McKee during the Arkansas Judiciary Committee meeting.
Matt McKee shamelessely brought up the spokesperson’s genitalia during the commitee meeting. (YouTube)

During the meeting, Stubblefield made ridiculous claims that trans youth were somehow being convinced by “the Chinese” through TikTok to have gender-affirming surgeries, which are not performed on under-18s.

Gwendolyn Herzig said that the claims from Stubblefield “sounded like that of a parodied conspiracy theorist.”

“I thought surely no one was taking the gentleman seriously,” she wrote. “Then his rhetoric continued.

“It became clear that his sentiment was being met in earnest by his colleagues and I began to recoil in my seat.”

Having been shocked by the already outlandish committee hearing, Herzig was the next to speak to politicians about the impact the bill would have on trans Arkansans.

She explained that the bill was “designed to hinder, not help” by creating barriers to healthcare that trans youth “deserve.”

“While the opposition was given an abundant amount of time to address the committee, we were only given two minutes,” she added.

“Needless to say, I had to cut out a large portion of what I wanted to speak about.”

But midway through her time, McKee posed the “egregious” question, which left her stunned in sheer shock.

“It felt like senator McKee had accomplished his goal,” she continued.

The bill passed via an oral vote, despite both Gwendolyn Herzig and several other trans people urging senators to reconsider the “harmful” measure.

Democratic senator Clarke Tucker, who was on the committee, criticised the bill as vitriolic towards the trans community.

“[Gender-affirming care] lets them know that they are loved and affirmed for who they are,” Tucker said. “The people that [this bill] does affect, the message they receive is that the state they live in hates them.”