Critics accused the White House of “diminishing” women by honoring a biological man on International Women’s Day.

Alba Rueda, a transgender woman who serves as Argentina’s Special Envoy for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, was presented with an International Women of Courage Award at a ceremony hosted by first lady Jill Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken Wednesday.

The 17th annual event honored a “group of 11 extraordinary women from around the world who are working to build a brighter future for all,” the Department of State said in a press release.

Rueda was welcomed to the stage by United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, who mispronounced her name as “Ru-ada” in her introductory remarks.

Rueda “is a transgender woman who was kicked out of classrooms, barred from sitting for exams, refused job opportunities, subjected to violence and rejected by her family,” Hicks said as the honoree approached the stage and kissed the first lady on the cheek.

“But in the face of these challenges, she worked to end violence and discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community.”

First Lady Jill Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose with Alba Rueda during the 17th annual International Women of Courage Award ceremony in the East Room of the White House Wednesday.AFP via Getty Images

Ten of the 11 women that were honored at the IWOC ceremony. Rueda is seen third from the right listening to an interpreter on headphones.AFP via Getty Images

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders was the most prominent Republican to disparage Rueda’s award on Twitter.

“It’s International Women’s Day – a good time to remember that the Democrats can’t even tell you what a woman is,” she wrote.

“Why are the Democrats working overtime to push the trans agenda?” asked New Hampshire GOP House candidate and former White House assistant press secretary Karoline Leavitt.

“Nice of FLOTUS to encourage the diminishment of women on ‘international women’s day’. Erasing women is abusive,” tweeted conservative radio host Dana Loesch.

It’s International Women’s Day – a good time to remember that Democrats can’t even tell you what a woman is.

— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) March 8, 2023

And with a disturbing rise in anti-transgender hate here in Canada and around the world recently, I want to be very clear about one more thing: Trans women are women. We will always stand up to this hate – whenever and wherever it occurs.

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 8, 2023

Other users of the social platform derisively compared bestowing the award to Rueda to past honors given to transgender Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine and college swimming champion Lia Thomas.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed back against the criticism, writing on Twitter: “Trans women are women.”

“We will always stand up to this hate – whenever and wherever it occurs,” Trudeau tweeted Wednesday.

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