Right-wing media and conservative officials launched a harassment campaign against a trans couple featured on the Facebook Watch docuseries 9 Months with Courteney Cox.
The docuseries profiles people throughout their pregnancies and included a trans couple, Ahanu, who is nonbinary, and Petrona, who is a trans woman. Throughout the series, including in a May 20 episode called “Trans Lactation is Possible,” 9 Months with Courteney Cox has explored trans women's ability to induce lactation, at one point noting, “Herbal tinctures and breast stimulation can produce the hormone necessary to induce breastfeeding in trans women.” On the June 3 episode of the show, Petrona unsuccessfully tried to breastfeed her newborn. Studies published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and Transgender Health have documented trans women who were able to produce breast milk through hormone therapy.
Nevertheless, right-wing media seized on the most recent episode to attack the family; outlets repeatedly misgendered both parents, asserted that their family “is a human rights violation,” and ignored the science behind trans women inducing lactation. The couple faced widespread harassment online, and one of the parents had to make their social media profile private due to threats of violence.
Right-wing media have spent years trying to sensationalize and demonize trans parents. Yet a 2014 research review by the Williams Institute found that “there is no evidence that children of transgender parents are different from other children in any developmental milestones.”
Right-wing media and figures misgendered and attacked the trans couple, claiming they committed “child abuse”
Just over a month after the 9 Months with Courteney Cox episode featuring the birth of Petrona and Ahanu’s child aired, right-wing media and prominent conservative figures denigrated the couple in an effort to fearmonger about trans parents. Here are some of the most extreme attacks on the couple:
- Fox News host Pete Hegseth and Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) accused Facebook of promoting “medical misinformation,” and Hegseth also claimed that “according to science, milk for babies does not come from” trans women.
- Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tweeted a video of the episode, writing that the couple’s “baby is in danger” and calling for the child to be removed from them. Greene’s followers were quick to attack the couple as well.
- Post Millennial Editor-in-Chief Libby Emmons asserted in an article, “These are more than lifestyle choices. This is a human rights violation.” She also compared doctors who offer trans-affirming care to “crazed Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele.”
- Breitbart posted an article that misgendered one of the parents in its headline: “Courtney Cox Facebook Show Features Transgender Man’s Failed Attempt to Breastfeed ‘Non-Binary’ Infant.”
- Media Research Center’s Abby Streetman ridiculed the couple, claiming, “That poor child is now being raised in a household with two mentally ill parents who are supposed to help their kid through life but don’t even know their own gender.”
- Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro repeatedly misgendered Petrona and called her “a pervert.”
- The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh tweeted, “Don’t tell me nobody is harmed by these ‘lifestyle choices.’ The baby is now condemned to this madness.” In a follow-up, he said that kids with trans parents “are being deprived of anything resembling a normal and healthy childhood and life.”
- Right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza claimed Petrona’s attempts to breastfeed are tantamount to “child abuse.”
- The right-wing Twitter account Libs of Tik Tok called on its followers to call child protective services on the couple and posted a photo of Petrona’s Instagram account.
- Right-wing commentator Terrence K. Williams misgendered the couple and said, “THIS IS RIDICULOUS!”