Hageman Denounces Transgender Surgeries, Doesn’t Regret Criticizing Legislators For Failure To Act

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman on Wednesday defended calling out Wyoming lawmakers last month for not passing legislation that would prohibit gender-related surgeries in Wyoming. It is absolutely something that should not be going on and I will double down on that when it comes to our children, she said.

LW
Leo Wolfson

March 09, 20237 min read

Harriet Hageman 3 9 23

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman is making it clear she has no regrets about public comments she made during the Wyoming legislative session about state affairs. She said she’ll continue to speak out on state-level issues in the future.

“You all knew who you were electing when you elected me,” the Wyoming Republican said Wednesday on the Cowboy State Politics podcast. “I will continue to weigh in on issues that are important to the state of Wyoming, important to our constituency and are important from a policy standpoint.” 

Hageman retweeted a Twitter post complaining about House Speaker Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, keeping bills in his drawer. 

One was a ban on teaching gender identity and sexual orientation to children in third grade and younger. Sommers also was criticized for sending a bill that would prohibit doctors from performing transgender surgeries on minors to a committee that made significant changes to it. 

“This is about protecting our children,” Hageman said in her Twitter post. “In Congress, I’m fighting for these very issues. I hope the Wyoming Legislature will do the same.”  

Stay In Your Lane

When state Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, responded to Hageman that she should stay in her lane, the congresswoman doubled down.

“Oh Landon,” Hageman tweeted. “Your ‘lane’ should be what your constituents want, but thanks for again being a living argument for allowing only Republicans to vote in Republican primaries.”

Hageman said in the podcast she sees interactions like these as part of her mission to make sure lawmakers are doing what she believes Wyoming residents want.

“I want our leaders to step up and do what the citizens are asking for,” she said. “Especially on these important policy issues that are affecting all of us.”

Hageman also said she believes voters should demand their elected representatives stick to the promises they made on the campaign trail. 

“I am going to call out people whether it’s at the federal level or the state level who are not doing what the citizens of this state want them to do,” she said.

Not What, But How

One of the criticisms levied against Hageman by a few former legislators in a March 2 Cowboy State Daily story wasn’t for speaking her mind, but doing it in the way she did, saying she should’ve made her comments privately and/or directly to the legislators she was criticizing. 

Hageman said she never intended to make headlines with her comments.

“This isn’t personal to me,” Hageman said. “We are facing such serious, serious, serious attacks on our culture, on who we are as a country, on what we’re going to do as far as protecting children, on our families, on so many different things, and we’ve to step up.”

She also specifically called out former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson, R-Wyoming, for his critical reaction to her calling out Sommers and Brown. She said the politics and society Simpson worked in as a senator are not the reality of today.

“I really don’t want to hear someone say, ‘You know what, 25 years ago we never would’ve done that,’” Hageman said. “Well, 25 years ago isn’t today. Today, we’ve got to engage, we’ve got to step up and we’ve got to do something to protect the greatest country in the history of the world.”

Sexual Orientation And Transgender Issues

Hageman said she will support any piece of legislation that shields children from transgender surgery “extremism.” She said she doesn’t believe in these gender-related procedures, referring to them as “butchery.”

“It is not possible for a boy to become a girl or a girl to become a boy,” she said. “There isn’t anything such as changing your gender.”

Hageman used this argument to claim there is a 100% failure rate for these surgeries. Some people who have received their surgeries have disagreed, saying they greatly improved their quality of life, while others like Luka Hein told Wyoming legislators she regretted her surgeries and gender-related treatments.

Hageman also said there are medical problems related to gender-related surgeries “that are off the charts,” like problems with conception, auto-immune disorders and osteoporosis. 

“It is absolutely something that should not be going on and I will double down on that when it comes to our children,” she said. “The fact that in Wyoming we are debating whether we should protect children that are under 18-years old from trans surgeries is shocking to me.”

Hageman mentioned how Wyoming is one of the most conservative states in the country, but “we’re struggling to get these bills through, bills that to me are very common sense and again, our designed to protect children.”

Hageman is a co-sponsor of the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, which prevents states that receive federal assistance to allow biological males to participate in girls’ and womens’ sports. 

A similar state-level version of this bill was recently passed in Wyoming, but it only applies to grades 7-12. 

“I’m taking these issues head-on as a member of Congress and I want to live in a state that takes these issues head-on,” Hageman said.

Crossover Voting

Crossover voting is the practice of changing party affiliation to participate in and impact the results of another party’s primary election.

Hageman said her 2022 Republican primary win over former congresswoman Liz Cheney would have been a “crushing” victory had it not been for what she believes was 25,000 to 30,000 crossover voters. 

“That sends a pretty strong message as to where the electorate is,” Hageman said. “That’s important information.”

Hageman still won that election by a lopsided 38% of the vote, spurred by Cheney’s decision to speak out against former President Donald Trump, who remains popular in Wyoming Republican circles.

Hageman also criticized those who have said crossover voting is not happening at a high enough level to impact the results of Wyoming elections. She said this determination is not unequivocal, and mentioned that down ballot races, which have far fewer votes than statewide elections, are more easily affected.

She believes the passage of House Bill 103 by the Wyoming Legislature, which moves the deadline back by three months to change party affiliation, is a result of “what the electorate in Wyoming believes and wants.”

“We have the right to make the determination about our own primaries and what candidates are going to represent us,” she said.

Hageman said she will return to Wyoming on Friday and hosting town hall meetings around the state.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter