Then he addressed Speaker Pelosi directly: “Take notes Madame Speaker, I’m about to define what a woman is for you: XX chromosomes, no tallywacker. It’s so simple.”


At just 26-years-old, Cawthorn—who, for what it’s worth, may still rely on his parents to make his car payments and actually signs his name like this—really used “tallywacker” as a euphemism for a penis. Is he 26 or 80? It is unclear.

Equally important to note here is that Cawthorn (who once referred to women as “earthen vessels”) and his Republican colleagues may be trying to rebrand as pro-science when it comes to finding any reason to justify dehumanizing LGBTQ people—yet, not only do scientists and health experts very much support gender-affirming health care, including for kids, but Republicans like Cawthorn aren’t exactly Nobel Prize-winning scientists themselves.

This is, after all, the same party that denies the reality of climate change and thinks abortion is reversible. Let’s be clear: Republicans obsess over trans children’s genitals (curiously, all while purporting to be the anti-pedophiloia party) and try to write them out of existence because of their obsessive need to police and control the bodies and lives of marginalized people—not out of respect for science.

Perhaps this is a cynical takeaway, but I’m inclined to believe Cawthorn had an agenda with this whole performance involving buzzwords like “Burger King” and “tallywacker,” and it wasn’t just transphobia. Last week was a rough one for the North Carolina Republican, between being told by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that he needs to “turn his life around” and being chewed out by members of his own caucus. If there’s one reliable way to change the subject and get back into the good graces of his party leadership, it’s by ranting about the tallywackers of queer and trans kids on the House floor.