Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, said in a CNN town hall Sunday night that the recent rise in suicidal ideations among teen girls is due to trans girls being allowed into girls’ locker rooms.
“How are we supposed to get our girls used to the fact that biological boys are in their locker room? And then they wonder why a third of our teenage girls seriously contemplated suicide last year,” Haley said. “We should be growing strong girls, confident girls.”
“The idea that we have biological boys playing in girls’ sports—it is the women’s issue of our time,” Haley added, deliberately overlooking the fact that women and girls as young as 10 are being forced to carry unwanted pregnancies in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
It’s true that suicidal ideations among teen girls are on the rise, per a disturbing Centers for Disease Control report from February. But that’s linked most closely to a rise in sexual assault and cyberbullying as well as pandemic-related depression, as we wrote at the time. Growing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in this country is also causing a rise in suicides, as Dr. Michael O’Brien, a pediatrician from South Carolina, pointed out on Twitter Monday.
And to say that trans girls in sports is “the women’s issue of our time” is so obtuse as to be laughable. Women in the U.S. are experiencing skyrocketing maternal mortality rates; child rape victims are being forced to cross state lines to get life-saving abortions; and women with cancerous pregnancies are being told to wait in the hospital parking lot until they’re nearly dying to get basic reproductive health care. Meanwhile, I have yet to see a teenage girl report that a trans girl in her locker room is the reason she feels like she can’t go on.
But Haley has apparently been advised that going after trans people will be a winning strategy in this election—so much so that she keeps telling her same, offensive Dylan Mulvaney joke in places where it completely bombs.
If the 2024 cycle is already this awful by June 2023, prepare for it to get much, much worse.