Newman, in a House floor speech supporting the LGBTQ Equality Rights Act, talked about her trans daughter; Greene later engaged in a personal transphobic attack.
WASHINGTON — To understand this story about Thursday’s vote on a transgender rights bill, first know that freshmen Rep. Marie Newman, D-Ill., and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., are across-the-hall neighbors in the Longworth House office building.
Greene is on the fringe of the fringe.
So much so that Democrats who control the House stripped her of committee assignments after the QAnon conspiracy booster and 9-11 denier threatened to execute Democrats, spread anti-Semitic tropes and pushed baseless claims about staged school shootings.
On Tuesday, Newman delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor to support passage of the LGBTQ anti-discrimination Equality Act.
She knows a lot about this issue.
Her daughter Evie, 20, a DePaul University student, transitioned about five years ago.
The Equality Act is needed, Newman said in her floor speech, because she knew from the day Evie “came out to her parents as transgender” she could be “discriminated against merely because of who she is.
“And yet it was still the happiest day of my life. And my daughter has found her authentic self.”
Later on Tuesday, Newman tweeted out a clip from that speech, adding the line, “I’m voting to pass the Equality Act for my daughter — the strongest, bravest person I know.”
On Wednesday, Greene tried unsuccessfully to block a vote on the Equality Act.
That prompted Newman on Wednesday afternoon to plant the light-blue and pink transgender flag next to the State of Illinois flag outside her office — where Greene would be sure to see it.
Newman wrote in an afternoon tweet above a video of her putting up the flag, “Thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door.”
A short time later, Greene tweeted in reply, “As mothers, we all love and support our children. But your biological son does NOT belong in my daughters’ bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams.”
Even though Newman got this ball rolling by planting the trans flag — a symbol — Greene knew or should have known how making her blunt message specifically about Newman’s child could be hurtful.
A few hours later, Greene escalated by putting up an in-your-face sign outside her door that said: “There are two genders. Male & Female. “Trust The Science,” said Greene.
That this message was directed to the mother of a trans child made it more than a matter of a policy dispute. What kind of unfeeling person does that?
Greene said in a tweet about her sign, “Our neighbor, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called “Equality” Act to destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms. Thought we’d put up ours so she can look at it every time she opens her door.”
And by the way, Greene does not trust science. She had to be forced to wear a COVID mask on the House floor.
A NEWMAN – GREENE BACKSTORY
It’s not like Newman did not try to get to know Greene when they both got to Congress. She did.
Earlier this month, when Greene made a Feb. 4 speech from the House floor where she was trying to avoid being stripped of her committees — she did finally accept that the 9-11 attacks happened — she tried to position herself as misunderstood.
“I haven’t gotten to know any of my Democratic colleagues,” Greene said from the floor.
Like much of what Greene said, that was not quite right. I talked to Newman on Feb. 4 and asked her — in the wake of what Greene said about not knowing any Democrats — whether she had gotten to know her office neighbor.
Said Newman, “We bumped into each other several times and I would say, ‘Hi, how are you. How’s it going?’ And she just refused to acknowledge me, and I know for sure she knew who I was and that I was her neighbor. I’ve had no interaction because she refuses to have interaction.”
And to add another wrinkle to this, on Thursday, Facebook removed Newman’s video. “Facebook took down our video of me putting up the Transgender flag outside my office and labeled it as “hate speech.” Meanwhile, they’re still allowing Marjorie Taylor Greene’s transphobic video to be posted.” Facebook put it back, telling Newman it was removed in error.
HOW ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS VOTED
The Equality Act passed the House on a 224-206 roll call to meet an uncertain future in the Senate. The 18 Illinois House members split along party lines. The 13 Democrats voted yes and the 5 Republicans were no votes.