Jill Biden honoured a trans woman on International Women’s Day and conservatives are absolutely furious

Alba Rueda accepting her award

Right-wing politicians and pundits have accused First Lady Jill Biden of “diminishing women” after she presented a trans woman with an International Women of Courage Award.

Alba Rueda was recognised for her work improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people in Argentina. She is also the first openly trans politician in the country to hold a senior government position.

The awards pay tribute to women from around the world who “are working to build a brighter future for all”, according to the State Department. Rueda was one several women named in the awards.

Between January 2020 and May 2022, Rueda served as the under-secretary of diversity policies in Argentina’s Ministry of Women, Genders and Diversity.

The First Lady handed out the awards during a ceremony at the White House on International Women’s Day (8 March).

Introduced to the stage as a woman who was “kicked out of classrooms” and denied jobs simply for being transgender, Rueda’s story is an inspiring account of someone overcoming adversity and helping a community she cares about.

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Biden, the wife of Democrat president, Joe Biden, and a doctor of education, took to Twitter to highlight the 11 women who have done extraordinary work to improve various freedoms around the globe.

“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate a group of incredible, courageous women and their extraordinary work pursuing justice, freedom and peace,” she said.

Conservatives, however, think Jill Biden giving Rueda an award diminishes women, going as far as calling the move “disgraceful”, in a vile spout of online anti-trans rants.

In a bout of jabs – including purposefully misgendering Rueda – Republicans swiftly chimed in to declare the move as anti-woman.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Republican governor of Arkansas, a state that has introduced the US’ most extreme anti-trans bathroom bills, said that Democrats couldn’t tell people what a woman is after the trans politician was given her award. Just this week, Sanders – Donald Trump’s former press secretar – also signed a bill into law that reduced child labour protections.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Barreto-Leyva, a Republican National Hispanic Assembly editorial member and podcaster, branded Rueda’s award “disgraceful and unacceptable”.

Another show host, Dana Loesch – a former spokeswoman for gun rights group the National Rifle Association, and an ex-editor at hard-right Breitbart News – chimed in saying: “Nice of FLOTUS [First Lady of the United States] to encourage the diminishment of women on International Women’s Day. Erasing women is abusive.”

Rueda was among recipients of the award from Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Poland and Ukraine.

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