Friday Feminist Fuck Yeah: Texas State Rep. Senfronia Thompson

The Texas state legislature is in rare sexist form this year, and last night State Rep. Senfronia Thompson had enough. A group called the Texas Civil Justice League distributed a flyer showing a baby nursing on a breast with with words over it criticizing a bill they said would expand the “nanny state.” The bill’s actually about regulation of consolidated insurance programs – it’s not even related to reproductive health issues.

This was the final straw for Rep. Thompson, who went off on the disrespect for women in the legislature. And it’s amazing.

(I apologize I haven’t been able to find a transcript. If anyone finds one please post in the comments.)

h/t @jnbklyn

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9 Comments

  1. Posted May 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a quick transcript:

    [Text slide: House Floor, May 26, 2011. Rep. Thompson's Matter of Personal Privilege on respecting women]

    Rep. Senfronia Thompson: Madam Speaker, and members,
    During this legislative session we’ve spent about 30 or 40 percent of our time kicking the reproductive organs of women down the road. And I thought that that was an issue that we had finished and completed.
    I want to attest to the fact that kicking the women’s can down the road…it’s still being kicked. I became aware of two despicable flyers [she holds up a flyer]. I know some of you may have seen one flyer talking about House Bill 2093, and it depicts a child pacifier. This bill is a bill that deals with insurance.
    [Holding up another flyer]And another one, that we’ve had a lot of controversy on, has a child nursing a mother’s breast, and this is talking about House Bill 2093, and this bill is about insurance.
    [She slams the flyers down on the her desk.] I am gonna tell you that I am really disgusted, and I am really ashamed, that there is nothing that some organizations find than kicking women. God made me a woman, and thank God that he made your mother a woman, ’cause you men wouldn’t be here.
    Lawmakers, as we are, have an opportunity to shape the attitudes of the public; and those attitudes can be positive toward women, they can be negative toward women, or they can be both. That falls within the gamut of all our abilities. But I find these flyers — some of you may find them funny, but I find them despicable! I find them distasteful. I find them hateful, and I find that they bolster violence toward women. And I am appalled today that this Texas Civil Justice League would go so low, that they would put out this kind of hate: resentful, bitter distasteful, despicable, despisable, violent flyers toward women just to get at a piece of legislation.
    They could have come and talked to me. [Unclear] knows that I have an open door policy; they could have come and saw me in my office. And we know, all of us, we win some, we lose some. But kicking women down the road as an old tin can, and fostering disrespect and violence and hate; it may not be important to you, but some of you have mothers, and I know many of you have wives, and you have daughters, and sisters, nieces, and this ought to embitter you. It ought to make you angry that somebody is this disrespectful they have put this sort of thing out just to get at a bill.
    We get up in arms about women having the ability to nurse their children in certain public places, and some of you all lose it because you don’t want to allow that in certain places, but yet we cannot sit here and tolerate this kind of attitude. This is wrong; it cannot exist. And I think that — I wanna ask you if you have any intestinal fortitude, and I believe you do, to stand up and tell this organization that this is not acceptable conduct for the members of this house. It is not acceptable to put women down like this, and this is not the kind of can that they need to be kicking in the Texas legislature.

    [Rep. Carol Alvarado takes the floor]: Representative Thompson, before this came to my attention I didn’t know where I stood on this piece of legislation, House Bill 2093. But after looking at the picture, I can tell you where I stand now — and behind me there’s a bipartisan group of women, and I want to applaud them because many women on this floor have taken the time to call the Texas Civil Justice League; many of us have spoken with Lee Parsely or Carrie Roberts. This piece of propaganda is a below-the-belt political tactic. We have had almost 50+ amendments or bills come across this floor this session that I think have demeaned women, but this one takes us to an all-time low, would you say that is correct, Ms. Thompson?

    Rep. Thompson: It is an all-time low, and I personally tell you this. This is not a technique to get this bill passed or concur, I don’t care if you kill this bill. I want you to remember one thing that I’m saying today: I don’t appreciate this attack on women, I don’t appreciate this flyer! I want to tell you something: I don’t perpetrate violence against somebody, but if they were here I’d probably bloody their nose, right here on this floor, I guarantee you that. And Doctor, I’d have to call you to their aid, and I’m not joking. I would bloody their nose because they have no right to do women this way. And we have not earned this disrespect in this house! We get elected just like you do, and we have not earned this kind of disrespect. I don’t want to tolerate it by anybody! And men, if you don’t stand up for us today, don’t you walk in this chamber tomorrow.

    [Applause]

    [Rep. Debbie Riddle takes the floor]: Miss T, you know you are our hero.
    Rep. Thompson: I’m trying to make the men be a hero too.
    Rep. Riddle: Well, I completely agree with you. But Miss T, do you think that this has become standard operating procedure because of what goes on in this house with the way some of the men have treated some of the women with pornography on the floor of this house!? Do you think that’s why this is acceptable, Miss T?
    Rep. Thompson: We’re gonna see just what’s acceptable, and we’re gonna see what they’re made out of and who is sugar and spice and everything nice.
    Rep. Riddle: Thank you.

  2. Posted May 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) : House speaker and members during this legslative session we have spent about 30 or 40 percent of our time kicking the reproductive organs of women down the road. And I thought that that was an issue that we had finished and we had completed. I want to attest to you the fact that kicking the womens can down the road- is still being kicked. To my surprise I became aware of two despicable flyers. I know some of you may have seen one flyer talking about senate bill, house bill 2093, and it depicts a child pacifier. This bill is a bill that deals w/insurance. And the other one that will have a lot of controversy on – a child nursing a mother’s breast. And this is talking about bill, House bill 2093. I’m gonna tell you that I’m really disgusted and I’m really ashamed that there’s nothing better than some organizations find than kicking women. God made me a woman, and thank God that he made your mother a woman because you men wouldnt be here. Lawmakers as we are have an opportunity to shape the attitudes of the public. And those attitudes can be positive toward women. They can be negative twrd women. Or they can be both. That falls within the gamut of all our abilities. Well I find these flyers some of you may find them funny. But I find them despicable. I find them distasteful. I find them hateful, and I find them to give thoughts of violence and disrespect toward women. And I am appalled today that the Texas Civil Justice League would go so low that they would put out this kind of hate. Resentful, bitter, despicable, despisable violent flyers toward women just to get at a piece of legislation. They could have come and talked to me. Tuffy knows that I have an open door policy. They coul’dve come and saw me in my office. And we know, all of us, we win some we live some. But kicking women down the road that’s an old tin can that’s fostering disrespect and violence and hate. It may not be important to you but some of you have mothers. And I know many of you have wives, and you have daughters, sisters, nieces. And this oughta embitter you, it oughta make you angry that somebody is this disrespectful that they have to put out this sort of thing just to get at a bill. We go up in arms about women having the ability to nurse their children in certain public places. And some of you all lose it because you don’t wanta allow that in certain places. But yet we cannot sit here and tolerate this kind of attitude. This is wrong. It cannot exist. And I think that I wanta ask you if you have an intestinal fortitude and I believe you do, to stand up and tell this organizatio. that this is not acceptable conduct for the members of this house. It is not acceptable conduct to put women down like this. And this is not the kinda can that they need to be kicking in the legislature.

    Would Miss Thompson yield for a question.
    (Yields)
    Rep. Thompson: In the event that some of you haven’t seen it these are some of the pictures here (holds up pictures).

    Rep. Carol Alvarado (D): Rep. Thompson before this came to my attention, I didn’t know where I stood on this piece of legislation, House Bill 2093…but after looking at the picture I can tell you where I stand now and behind me there’s a bipartisan group of women. And I want to applaud them because many women on this floor have taken the time to call the Texas Civil Justice League some of us have spoken with Lee Parsley or Cary Roberts. This piece of propaganda is a below the belt political tactic. We have had almost 50 plus amendments and or bills come across this floor this session that I think have demeaned women but this one takes us to an all time low would you say that’s correct Miss Thompson?

    Rep. Thompson: It is an all time low and I personally tell you this. This is not a tactic to get this bill passed to concur, I don’t care if you kill this bill. I want you to remember one thing that I’m saying today. I don’t appreciate this attack on women. I dont appreciate this flyer —
    And I’m gonna tell you something I don’t perpetuate violence against nobody but if they were here I’d probably bloody their nose . Right here on this floor I guarantee you that. And Dr. (Zerwals?) I’d have to call you to their aid and I’m not joking. I wold bloody their nose because they have no right to do women this way. And we have not earned this disrespect in this house. We fight here we get elected just like you do. And we have not earned this kind of disrespect. And I don’t wanta tolerate it by anybody. And men, if you don’t stand up for us today, don’t you walk in this chamber tomorrow.

    ”Will the general lady yield please?”
    (Yields.)

    Rep Debbie Riddle (R) : Miss Thompson you know that you are our hero.
    Rep. Thompson: I’m trying to make the men be a hero too.
    Rep. Riddle: Well I completely agree with you but Miss Thompson do you think that this has become standard operating procedure by some because of what goes on in this house with the way some of the men have treated some of the women, with pornography on the floor of this house? Do you think that is why this is acceptable Miss Thompson?
    Rep. Thompson: We’re gonna find out just what’s acceptable and we’re gonna see just what they’re made out of and all the sugar and spice and everything nice.

  3. Posted May 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    This woman is BADASS. If I lived in Texas I’d immediately donate money for her re-election campaign. We need more like her!!!

  4. Posted May 27, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    What a woman! It’s great that she brought up this issue and had bipartisan support. Nice job ladies :)

  5. Posted May 28, 2011 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    Wow. I love her. And I’m so so happy that all those women supported her. Little bit disappointing that no men stood up in support too though.

  6. Posted May 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    That is Girl Power youngsters. That is the true picture of Girl Power, quirky and plucky girls growing up to be strong and no-nonsense women.

    • Posted May 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Fuck “plucky” and “Girl Power.” Why does the act of standing for basic decency and fairness have to be pinkwashed and vajazzled any time it relates to women.

      • Posted May 30, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        I believe she said the true picture of Girl Power was growing up to be “strong and no-nonsense women” what exactly is so pink-washed about that? Holster your rage, far as I can tell she’s as much an ally to decency and fairness as you are.

        About this woman: I was cheering in front of my computer! It’s wonderful to see women in politics supporting one another’s right to be respected– AS WE ALL SHOULD. (You too, men!)

        “We’re gonna see just what’s acceptable, and we’re gonna see what they’re made out of and who is sugar and spice and everything nice.” Bad ass!
        Can somebody make a poster? Cause I’ll proudly put that on my wall.

        • Posted June 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          Thank You. And I said it as nicely as I can with the little girl in me that feels vindicated when she sees strong grown ladies stand up for themselves. No one should forget the little kid inside them

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