For Immediate Release

July 25, 2014



DC – Bill Silverfarb (202) 225-3531 / (202) 957-4340 cell


CA – Katrina Rill (650) 342-0300 / (650) 208-7441 cell



WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) sent a letter today to the Executive Publisher of Science, Alan I. Leshner, to decry the magazine’s use of a lurid photograph to illustrate a story on battling HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia. The July cover of the magazine showed transgender women in tight dresses and high heels with their heads cropped out of the photograph.

“The decision to publish a sexist, racist, and transphobic cover speaks volumes to how men in the science fields view and treat women. To use headless, sexualized women of color to illustrate treating the AIDS pandemic is extremely offensive,” Congresswoman Speier said. “A Science editor’s comment that it would be ‘interesting’ to see how men felt after learning the women are transgender is an abysmal motivation for the choice of cover. Transgender people are already disproportionately subject to hate crimes.”

Research shows that women earn about half the doctorates in the science and engineering fields in the United States, but only comprise 21 percent of full science professors, 5 percent of full engineering professors, and 28 percent of the overall workforce. Female resumes are viewed more negatively, male scientists train fewer female students, and female scientists 37 percent less grant funding.

Read the letter Congresswoman Speier sent to Leshner here.


Congresswoman Jackie Speier is proud to represent California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. She is a senior member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). In her role on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Congresswoman is a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements and serves on the Subcommittee on National Security. She serves on the Readiness Subcommittee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on HASC and is a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Congresswoman Speier was appointed to serve as a Senior Whip for the Democratic caucus in the 113th Congress.