One month after popular rapper and actor T.I. revealed in a controversial interview that he takes his daughter to the doctor annually to make sure her hymen is still intact, legislators in New York are now considering a ban of the so-called virginity test.
“It made me angry and I was just very upset,” Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, a Democrat who introduced a bill last week to prohibit the practice, told The New York Times. “To use your platform to say that you did this is just misogynistic and it sets the women’s movement back.”
In a since removed interview on Nov. 5, T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., told the “Ladies Like Us” podcast that he and his daughter make “yearly trips to the gynecologist” to check her hymen — a thin membrane that surrounds the opening of the vagina.
“So we’ll go and sit down and the doctor comes and talk, and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism,” he said. “He’s like, ‘You know, sir, I have to, in order to share information’ — I’m like, ‘Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain't no.’”
He explained that doctors told him that the hymen can break from other activities outside of sexual intercourse but noted he replied “she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports.”
The public discussion led to serious backlash for the rapper from women’s groups and others who felt he violated his daughter’s right to privacy.
He later defended his position on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Show “Red Table Talk.”
“It think that in the age or the time when our women — black women — are the most unprotected, unattended, disregarded women on the planet, I’m being criticized because I’m willing to go above and beyond to protect mine,” he said.
“Anything that is the most important thing to me in my life, I am going to deal with that with very extreme care,” he stressed. “And I don’t understand how that is looked at as being so wrong.”
He also stressed that he had embellished some parts of the narrative he shared in the initial interview and explained that he was never in the exam room with his daughter during the so-called test and that it is something that happened in the past.
Shortly after the rapper first made his comments, Dr. Ted L. Anderson, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said: “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not have guidance on ‘virginity testing.’ As a medical organization, ACOG releases guidance on medically indicated and valid procedures.”
Dr. Maura Quinlan, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University in Chicago, also told The New York Times that “A virginity exam does not exist.”
“If someone brought me a girl for a virginity exam, I would tell them, ‘I can’t say either way,’” she added.
The proposed legislation in New York state would prohibit medical practitioners from performing virginity examinations, and levy penalties for professional misconduct if they breach the ban, the NY Times said. Virginity tests performed outside of a medical setting would also be treated as sexual assault.
Already, the bill has attracted three co-sponsors in the Assembly while Democrat Roxanne J. Persaud, has introduced it in the state Senate.
“The invasive procedure of a virginity examination violates the sanctity and purity of a female,” Persaud said. “Whether a child or adult, this breaches not only moral grounds, but also the privacy entitled to a female and their doctor.”