Opinion - Defending Kamala Harris is a Fool's Folly

By Amber Enderton | August 2, 2017 |

In recent days, additional scrutiny has been brought to Kamala Harris' record in light of speculation that she's planning a 2020 presidential run. The criticism has caused a knee jerk reaction from the Hillary wing of Democratic Party. 

Clintonites claim that this a another case of misogyny and racism from the Bernie wing of the party. The criticism, as with the criticism of Hillary, is of her lack of support of popular progressive policy positions; from $15 minimum wage to single payer health care; is valid criticism. It's important to recognize that a lack of such positions resulted in low enthusiasm and turnout for Hillary in her failed run for president.

One criticism ignored by Clintonites, however, is Harris' record on transgender rights. While a vocal critic of the trans panic defense that was banned in California courtrooms, any Attorney General worth their salt should be opposed to a "her genitals made me do it" defense. Far more troubling is her opposition in court of trans women seeking Genital Reassignment Surgery, or GRS. Her arguments, that it is unnecessary; despite the claims of both the woman and her doctor; are offensive.

Support for trans women against violence but opposition to basic trans health care isn't support. Any transmisogynist can argue against violence towards trans women while still making the claim that trans women are, in fact, men.

North Carolina's anti-trans bill was center stage in the 2016 election; and with trans advocacy only getting stronger, trans issues will continue to take center stage in future elections. Dismissing our concerns as purity politics is a mistake. Gay marriage rapidly went from a fringe issue to a key issue, and trans right will make that same jump.

Supporting Kamala Harris for presidency is a personal choice. Defending Kamala Harris in the same way as Hillary, brushing off criticism as fringe concerns fueled by misogyny and racism, will only usher in the same results. And Bernie Bro, the epithet for anyone left of center that became popular in the 2016 primaries, continues to be a transmisogynistic slur. 2020 is likely to become a battle of character as much as a battle of issues, and the supporters of Kamala Harris setting up their wing of the party as the transmisogynistic, conservative wing is ceding ground to Trump.

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